Cover Image: Christmas at the Ranch

Christmas at the Ranch

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Member Reviews

"Christmas at the Ranch" by Anita Hughes is a charming holiday novel that is sure to put you in the festive spirit. The protagonist, Samantha Morgan, is a successful author of a female James Bond-type heroine named Sloane Parker, but the reality of her life is quite different. With a social media presence that suggests she is adventurous and fearless, Samantha is actually a homebody who fears even walking around the block when it snows.

However, when her editor surprises her with a trip to a Christmas party at her publisher's ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Samantha's life is thrown into a whirlwind of adventure. On the plane, she meets the handsome Drew, whom she confides in about her fears and the truth behind her fake social media presence. Little does she know that Drew is the son of her publisher, Arthur.

As Christmas week unfolds, Samantha grows closer to Drew and learns to overcome her fears, but her happiness is put to the test when Drew's fiancée, Beatrix, arrives on the scene. Through heartwarming moments and holiday festivities, Samantha must navigate through the ups and downs of a developing romance and decide what she truly wants in life. "Christmas at the Ranch" is a fun read that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy during the holidays.
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When Samantha Morgan's editor Charlie shows up right before Christmas telling her that her publisher has invited her to his Christmas party, her life changes forever. She rarely leaves her home and never leaves the state, but she is put on a plane to Jackson Hole, Wyoming reluctantly. On the plane she visits with a handsome stranger that turns out to be her publisher's son. While they start to get close, his fiancee shows up. She tries not to like her, but they end up being friends. Will she enjoy her Christmas this year? Or will she end up hating it like usual?

This is a fun Christmas read that I really enjoyed!
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I was a huge fan of Anita Hughes' other Christmas romance in New York and knew that I would adore this read as well. I loved the character development, the setting and the romance in this story. I wasn't a huge fan of the Sloane Parker tie in with the stories that the main character would try to come up with, but I really enjoyed the setting of the book itself and the Christmas romance vibes. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the rushed romance, the ending and the lack of the tie in with Drew's mom, but the romance itself kept me hooked and the fact that the main character was an author!
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This one of the worst books I've ever read. The MC was fucking annoying. I would literally punch her in the face. All the characters were so shallow, literally no depth at all. It extremely repetitive plot wise. Also, the MC character kept referencing the books she writes which was super annoying.


1.5 Stars
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This is the third Christmas novel I've read by Anita Hughes. I look forward to them almost at much as I do Debbie Macomber's Christmas novels. Last year's novel, A Magical New York Christmas (read my review), is my favorite so this one had a lot to live up to.

Christmas at the Ranch isn't as Christmasy but there is plenty of winter activity. And it is set at Christmas. I think part of the reason it didn't feel as Christmasy is because the main character Samantha has been invited to her publisher's ranch for a house party - pretty much everyone there is a stranger to her.

I liked Samantha. She just wanted to spend Christmas in her apartment with her dog. I didn't feel like there was really anything wrong with that - I like being home with just my cats. But if she stayed home there wouldn't have been much of a story. I felt like Bruno and his wife were underutilized.

While I liked Drew and Samantha, I felt the secondary characters kept stealing the show. Samantha's parents' Christmas vacation sounded like a lot of fun and I would love see more of their adventures.

I'm not sure how I felt about the "outtakes" from Samantha's book plots. The first few were fun and gave a sense of Samantha's character, but then they started to feel more like a distraction from the story. 

Overall this was a good story. I spent the entire day reading it.

My review will be published on Saturday, December 24 - https://www.girl-who-reads.com/2022/12/4-christmas-novels-for-your-holiday.html
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Christmas at the Ranch by Anita Hughes was a light holiday romance, mostly set in the beautiful winter wonderland of Jackson Hole. I enjoyed the first third of the novel as the protagonist was forced into new situations and had to work through crippling anxiety that she had developed after a difficult breakup. I was also initially intrigued by the idea of a book within a book as she was a writer, and she would stop and write down random possible plot points as they occurred to her or reminisce on past books she had written.

However, after the initial novelty, both of these plot points felt simplistic and even clumsy at times, interfering with the primary development of the relationship between Samantha and Drew. I loved the references to the locations around Jackson Hole, however, and the gorgeous descriptions of these places regularly delighted me, bumping Jackson Hole even higher on my bucket list.
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Christmas at the Ranch by Anita Hughes had the charm of a fantastic setting and a lot of festive cheer. But, the story felt contrived and the meeting on a plane and the spilling of her guts to a stranger made me never quite feel much for the heroine of this story even though this story does have a lot going for it but the heroine I just couldn't get invested in.

Perhaps another reader would dearly love it for its Christmas setting appeal and the male protagonist Drew but for me, it just missed the mark.  

Lovely premise and cover.
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This is a charming Christmas slow burn romance about a shy writer, Samantha, who writes books with a heroine who is her complete opposite.  Her marketing team has implied that Samantha is just as adventurous as the character she writes.  In reality, Samantha is shy and would rather be at home than anywhere else. 
Her agent tricks her into going to her publisher’s Christmas party that happens to be in Wyoming. She pours her heart out to a handsome stranger on the plane who turns out to be the son of the wealthy publisher.  
I enjoyed reading about Samantha’s adventures, she must pretend that her adventurous personality is real. 3.5 stars. 

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed as in this review are completely my own.
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3 out of 5.  Its a cute Christmas story, but it is not amazing, there are better Christmas stories and better romances. What did I like?  I like a good meet cute and Jackson Hole's activities seemed perfectly situated for a Christmas book (i want to go now!). Also I did not see the twist coming. What I didn't love? What is this about employers expecting their authors to go for a XMas outing? I really didn't care for the Sloan book stories intertwined within the stories, it took away from the main storyline and they really weren't relevant or brought the story forward at all and just seemed random. Also, Her parents are crazy. I feel Samantha's anxiety and fears were a bit caricaturized, but at least there  was some character development.
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Christmas At The Ranch by Anita Hughes

This is a love story that will enchant and warm your heart.  It is based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I enjoyed reading this novel.  I couldn’t put it down.  
Great characters, well-written.  Although bI loved it, I felt there was a little too much imaging her new plots.  It to distracted you from the main story.  I recommend this book.

Thanks to Net Galley for sending me an advanced copy for my review.
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This one didn’t work for me. I didn’t care for all of the Sloane plot points that were included in the story; there was just too much. I also could not stand Arthur. I did enjoy the setting. It sounded like a beautiful and fun place to spend the holidays. 

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for this digital arc in exchange for my honest review which is not affiliated with any brand.
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I have enjoyed many of Anita’s previous books, but this one missed the mark for me.   Samantha is an author who was burned by love before and it has made her afraid of everything. Seriously, she’s afraid of her own shadow. She won’t get close to anyone but her own dog, Socks. She lives vicariously through her most famous character, Sloane Parker. 

She’s tricked into visiting her bosses house over Christmas in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and she needs to face a lot of her fears head on. All through out the book, Samantha has to keep reminding herself, what would Sloane do? And she writes little chunks of a future book as she encounters these obstacles. I found this very boring. If I wanted to read an action novel, I would? 

There’s a romance plot line that helps push Samantha to believe in love again which is the only part of the book I enjoyed. 

Thank you to St Martins Press for my gifted ebook.
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A cozy and heartfelt, but rather predictable, Christmas story. While I wouldn't read it again, it was still a nice story to have read.
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I really liked the premise of this Christmas romance novel, and I thought it was very festive! Overall, I would definitely recommend !

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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Christmas at the ranch is the fourth book by Anita Hughes that I read. Her books are always cozy and this was not the exception, with such an interesting setting.
However, it was difficult for me to connect with the story and characters. I liked Samantha but I could not understand her.
The first part of the book felt a bit slow but it picked up and in the last chapters, it was impossible to put down. I must say that, even for fiction, the story felt improbable and repetitive. I liked the parts about Socks and the diary, but I did not really like the Sloane parts.
Overall, it was a nice Christmas read, but it was not my favorite from the author. I will undoubtedly read more of her Christmas books, though.
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Christmas at the Ranch transports the reader the lush landscape of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  In this high-flying adventure, we find the most unadventurous character, Samantha, who is literally afraid of everything after a near-death experience on her last vacation.  

On her flight out, she meets a man who helps her navigate the bumps from NYC to Jackson Hole. He listens to her rambles and tells her story to take her mind of the rough landing. Unbeknownst to her, he's the son of the CEO who's home she's staying. Samantha, a writer of a popular series, looks at every situation as a book plot. The mansion she's staying has a lavish library, and she stumbles upon diaries revealing a lost love of her host. She begins to unravel the mystery of the women whose journals she's uncovered from a time when Drew, his son, was little. 

Samantha finds herself drawn to Drew and he to her only thing he's engaged.  Can Samantha overcome her fears to be brave to admit feelings while Drew untangles his love life he knows has gone south?   

This small town, hallmark worthy, romance is simple, predictable yet a cozy escape.  

Thank you St. Martins Press for the complimentary copy of this novel.
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The beautiful setting of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is what drew me to this otherwise regular romance. An author of adventure novels pretends to be as active as her heroine, when in fact, she is afraid of everything. When she gets tricked/guilted into joining her publisher at his ranch in Wyoming over Christmas, she faces many challenges, including, possibly, love. The descriptions of Wyoming's landscape and the town of Jackson Hole are the best parts of this novel. Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Griffin for providing an ARC.
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This was a slow burn holiday romance with good characters and a powerful and inspiring message. This was like a Hallmark movie and I appreciated the romance between Samantha and Dean. Just an okay book though.
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Samantha lives in New York with her dog Socks. She has a lot of phobias. She developed them after breaking up with her boyfriend Roger a few years prior and having a bad travel experience. She is an author and has created a beloved character named Sloane. Samantha makes/lets Sloane do all the adventures that she is afraid of. The only problem? The people managing her career kind of expect her to pretend that her own life is the inspiration for Sloane. So she takes many pictures for social media that misrepresent her life.

At Christmas time she is invited to stay at the big boss’ house for the holidays. He throws epic parties and it’s an honor that Samantha is the one he invited this year. But he doesn’t know that Samantha’s social media image is fake. So, he doesn’t realize how many ways he’s going to make Samantha uncomfortable during her stay. I’ll get back to that.

Samantha doesn’t know she’ll be flying and she’s afraid of flying. During the flight she pours her whole heart and her whole story out to her seat mate Drew.

When she gets to the boss’ ranch she finds out that Drew us his son. She asks Drew not to tell his dad anything that she told him on the flight. She might have been much better off if she had. 

During her stay, Samantha is invited to lots of activities and she’s pretty much expected to join.
Watching the local wildlife. Riding an electronic bull. Any kind of crazy, borderline scary activity, and the family seems to have planned it during her stay.
Samantha keeps pushing herself to do everything because she’s afraid of the consequences if her boss finds out the truth.
I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have wanted to do a fraction of the activities Samantha was subjected to. And I don’t think you can just force yourself to overcome fear repeatedly so you don’t get in trouble at work.

Samantha also feels herself becoming attached to Drew but Drew has a fiancée. And even if Drew were single, it’s hard to picture her fitting into his lifestyle easily.

The thing that did not work for me with this book is that there were many scenes written as upcoming/past Sloane books. Samantha starts picturing how she could write something for a new Sloane book and an entire page of this story is devoted to what will happen in the Sloane book.
Then Samantha will reminisce about something she wrote in another Sloane book and another full page of this story is devoted to Sloane.
It didn’t work for me. I started just skipping over the Sloane sections. 

I did appreciate that the author made Drew’s fiancée nice. Sometimes authors write the fiancée as terrible and it comes off a bit much. In this book, even if you want Drew with Amanda you don’t have to hate Drew’s fiancée. I think that’s great.

I also really liked Amanda’s mom. I’ll be honest, I think her vacation sounded like a lot more fun! :)

I got to read an early ebook edition from NetGalley. Thank you!
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A fun atmospheric read that is perfect to devour in the winter time. As someone who loves to watch as many Hallmark movies as possible during the holiday season this perfectly scratched that itch for me in book form. This book was not without it's flaws but overall not a bad way to spend my time.
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