Review: The Christmas Countdown by Ani Gonzalez

Posted December 27, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 12 Comments

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Review: The Christmas Countdown by Ani Gonzalez
The Christmas Countdown

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Holiday Lake #1
Genres: Holiday Romance, Romantic Comedy
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on December 6, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
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The Delight

A small Minnesota town where its always Christmas has an overworked holiday planner who definitely has a tangle in her tinsel when a last minute client the day before Christmas Eve needs ‘traditional family Christmas’ for his two kids.  May the reindeer games begin…


The Christmas Countdown is the first in a humorous and low-key series about a small town with Christmas as its theme.  The quirky residents know the score and don’t seem to mind the always Christmas marketing emphasis.  But, they have the same relationship and life problems as the next town.  I loved being introduced to the fun setting, the circle of friends, the family situations, and of course a spot of holiday romance.

In this story, Nat is a holiday planner and she’s a workaholic, but the first time ever, she is planning a vacation just for herself on a pretty Mexico beach with an iced drink in hand.  Only, just before she can jet away, her mother’s love life takes a bad turn and she gets a last minute client whose willingness to pay big-time bonus plus cover the expense for a rescheduled vacation need her attention.  She tries to tell her friends that it’s just good business and she can’t disappoint to kids who already got ditched by their mom, but they’re not buying it when the spot a few on-line pics of handsome and single Cyrus Blackstone.

Cyrus’ ex-wife left him with her eye set on a bigger prize and a man who didn’t work all the time and now she’s left her children behind, too, right before Christmas.  Cyrus planned to take a little Mexican vacay and soak up some sun away from work, but his kids mean everything to him and he’s not had them for the holidays in a long time.  He wants to pull out all the stops, but he’s clueless about parenting and family Christmas.  His nanny Leah comes to his rescue with a Christmas holiday destination and a professional to handle the details.  Phone chats and meetings with Nat and his boisterous children getting in the spirit have him loosening his tie and setting aside his business reports for the first time in years.

This was a simple and easy, low-angst story.  It was fun and left me smiling.  The romance was cute, but I would have enjoyed seeing the end develop a bit more along the lines of how the future would work.  More a happy for now.  I enjoyed the surrounding elements to the romance just as much.  Cyrus learning to be family with his children, Lean the nanny and her side romance along with Nat’s feisty mother Marisol and her romance, and the promise of more from Nat’s two best friends maybe in their own stories.

All in all, I was delighted with this sugary sweet holiday romance leading off a new series.




About Ani Gonzalez

Hi! I write about smart, funny people making out (and finding corpses) in haunted houses. I like ghost stories, chocolate, and sangría.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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2 years ago

It’s alwys nice to have stories like that

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Melliane

They are great between the more challenging reads. 🙂

Debbie Haupt
2 years ago

Oh I think I want this, what a great series premise. Thanks Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Christmas all day all the time. It was great. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
2 years ago

A sweet holiday story is always nice to read.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

It was an easy and light one that was relaxing in the middle of the Christmas crazies. 🙂

Carole rae
2 years ago

A good find!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Carole rae

Thanks! I’ve enjoyed exploring the books offered on Amazon’s KU program. 🙂

2 years ago

Pretty cover. I like to read stories set in MN. Anne – Books of My Heart

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Anne

It was a cutie. Not a lot of local color beyond the quirky town and cold, but there was a little.

2 years ago

So pretty angst free? Sounds pretty laid back-was there any hurdles to conquer? I’m glad you enjoyed the read Sophia!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Lorna

If it has a big fault, it is that there really is no big conflict. It’s more on the pair of them figuring out their personal lives, becoming friendly, and giving the kids a good Christmas than a strong romance.