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review 2019-11-04 14:03
Great Look at What Makes a Family
The Family Gift - Cathy Kelly

So the newest by Cathy Kelly really hit home. I thought she did a great job with Freya and Freya's inner voice, Mildred. I also thought at times Freya was acting so unreasonable and I am glad that the book didn't hide away from how she was behaving at times. I also am glad that not everything ends up happily ever after with several real life events in Freya's life. I think with contemporary romances authors often want to make everyone be happy and in love and nothing really terrible happens. Kelly did a great job of showing how Freya and her family were broken by her father's stroke. And also did another great job of showing how Freya's sister was dealing with infertility. Though I gave this 5 stars I do wish that Kelly had showcased the lone brother in Freya's book. It was really just focused on her, her two sisters, and her mother. And of course Freya's obsession with her husband's ex-wife and her coming back to "claim" their daughter. 


"The Family Gift" follows chef turned famous tv personality and cookbook author Freya Abalone. Freya though has a big secret, she's unable to think about cooking food right now and is totally blank on recipes to put together for her newest book. We quickly find out that Freya and her large loving family have recently moved, her father had a stroke several months earlier, her sister is dealing with infertility, and Freya is scared that at any moment her daughter's birth mother is going to push her way back in the scene. Freya we also find had something happen to her a few months earlier that has also affected her. Dealing with all of this would be a breeze except Freya has a critical inner voice which is constantly telling her she's not good enough. Things finally come to a head when her husband's first wife returns and seems as if she's focused on developing a relationship with their daughter.

First off, I really got Freya and liked her. She knows how lucky she is with her family, but she tends to want to smother everyone of them and not allow them any say in things. Her behavior with her eldest daughter Lexi is definitely one of those things she needs to lessen her grip on. Her wanting to be Lexi's only mother and being jealous at her birth mother is understandable, but the way she behaved about it for 2/3 of the book got to be a bit much after a while. Also I didn't really like how she kept interrogating her husband about why he got with his first wife and why did he marry her. It felt like at times I was watching a person pick at a scab in real time. Freya eventually realizes she needs to open herself and her family up in a different way and actually know that sometimes terrible things are going to happen, you just need to go on with it.

I thought Kelly did a great job with describing the two kids personality's (Lexi and her youngest daughter Teddy) but though her son got kind of ignored for the most part. And though we have Freya in love with her husband and talking about him a lot, I wish they actually had more one on one conversations in this book. I just felt at times the men got pushed aside. 

The writing was really good and I thought Kelly did a great job with capturing that inner voice that tells you that you are not good enough. I think every person in the world has that voice, the trick is ignoring it. The flow was really great too. It takes a bit before we find out what caused Freya to lose her ability to cook something new and think of different recipes. And I liked her relationship with her food assistant and loved how Kelly went back and forth to show how Freya got discovered and how her "style" was figured out for her. 

The ending I thought was really good. It shows a new phase in Freya's family, an honest one that is needed. I would love to read more stories told by others in this family's POV. I do wish that Kelly would take a page out of Maeve Binchy's books and revisit characters in other books and kind of tie them all together. 

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review 2017-09-25 02:00
Historical Christmas Romance
Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Highland Pleasures, #4.5) - Jennifer Ashley

Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift by Jennifer Ashley is a fairly short read, a good choice for those with limited time for reading.  If you are familiar with the Mackenzie Series, you won't have any trouble with this book.  If you aren't familiar, you may have trouble keeping the characters straight in the beginning of the book.  This is a Christmas story of the Mackenzie brothers and their wives and is an entertaining read.  There is plenty of drama, humor and spice to hold a reader's attention.  I enjoyed this holiday book and look forward to reading more from Jennifer Ashley in the future.  A Mackenzie Family Christmas is book 4.5 of the Mackenzie & McBrides Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.


I voluntarily read a free copy of this book that I received from BookFunnel.

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review 2016-12-12 16:30
Mackenzie Family Christmas - The Perfect Gift by Jennifer Ashley
A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift - Jennifer Ashley

This was a very enjoyable, sexy, holiday novella that had SO much crammed into its 165+ pages that it fairly made my head swim!  But in a good way.  :)

All the Mackenzies are here with their wives and their children and the place is rollicking.  There are so many instances of sexytimes, all of them lovely and steamy.  We have babies being born and kisses being stolen.  And we have the lovely Lord Ian, who is such a wonderful character, seeming to be the one holding it all together.

Great fun read and a good reminder to me that I have to find the others!  *whispers*  I've only read the first one, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, and it was really, really good.

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review 2014-02-10 00:00
A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Highland Pleasures, #4.5)
A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Highland Pleasures, #4.5) - Jennifer Ashley A sweetly intimate look into the joys and tribulations the Mackenzie family shared during their time of celebration of both a full out English Christmas, Scottish Hogmany and the long awaited birth of a new member of the family!

This was a book filled with romantic interludes between the husbands and their wives, dramatic mishaps and most of all the fact that despite it being hard to do they each managed to give a "perfect" gift to one another of love and acceptance which is just what we all want more than the nicest possession ever wrapped up!

Having not read the rest of the series still never felt lost as this was entirely easy to follow along with each set of relationships with just enough information to beguile me into longing for the first four books that had more detail about the family and their previous tales.
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review 2013-10-12 15:46
Just Finished Reactions: A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift by Jennifer Ashley
Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Highland Pleasures, #4.5) - Jennifer Ashley

What a nice look into the family holidays of the Mackenzies. This novel didn't focus on one couple but really was just like looking in on a bunch of characters you knew once. I actually really liked that. I also liked seeing some secondary characters have some screen time, which only makes me want to read their books more... If they have books. I hope they do! Anyway great quick read. I :)


Originally posted on GR in December 2012

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