Friday, February 11, 2022

Book Review ~ CHRISTMAS IN ROSE BEND by Naima Simone

Christmas in Rose Bend (Rose Bend, #2)
by: Naima Simone
Series: Rose Bend
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: HQN Books
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads

The holidays have never been her thing. But Christmas in Rose Bend has more than one surprise in store…

Grieving ER nurse Nessa Hunt is on a road trip with her sullen teen half sister, Ivy, and still reeling from her mother’s deathbed confession: Nessa’s dad wasn’t really her dad. Seeking answers, they arrive in Rose Bend to find a small town teeming with the kind of Christmas cheer Nessa usually avoids. But then she meets the innkeeper’s ruggedly sexy son, Wolfgang Dennison.

Wolf’s big, boisterous family is like a picture-perfect holiday card. Nessa has too much weighing on her to feel like she fits—even though the heat between her and Wolf is undeniable. And the merriment bringing an overdue smile to Ivy’s face is almost enough to make Nessa believe in the Christmas spirit. But with all her parental baggage, including lingering questions about her birth father, is there room in Nessa’s life for happy holidays and happily-ever-after?

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Naima Simone. Her stories ALWAYS get me in my feels. Christmas in Rose Bend was no different. I don't personally know Naima, but I do follow her on social media. Reading the dedication page was tough. Reading the blurb, and knowing what I was going to read in the story made it even tougher but at the same time more heartfelt and genuine.

Christmas in Rose Bend is about love, family, and grief. Nessa Hunt has been thrust into the guardian/caregiver role of her 12-year-old half-sister, Ivy. With a 16 year age difference, the two aren’t close and never really spent time together. Ivy lost her mother when she was an infant. Nessa lost her mother eight months ago. And the girls lost their father, Isaac Hunt, six weeks ago. It's hard losing both parents in such a relatively short time span. But it's even harder when one of those leaves a deathbed confession.

Isaac’s last wish was for his two girls to bond and spend the Christmas holidays together in Rose Bend, Massachusetts. His reason, unbeknownst to Nessa and Ivy is the connection they each have to the town and the Kinsale Inn, owned by Moe and Ian Dennison. Nessa struggles with having a sulky combative younger sister to take care of. And also having to celebrate Christmas, a holiday that holds bad memories, in a place that decorates every square inch and holds daily holiday activities.

Nessa literally walks into Wolfgang “Wolf” Dennison, the oldest of Dennison’s seven kids, in a very visually funny meet-cute. Wolf is a perceptive gentle giant who has his own demons to overcome.

The romance and playful banter between Wolf and Nessa definitely exists and comes through the pages. What makes this story so remarkable is the layers upon layers Naima has created for the characters and the story itself. Yes, this is a romance book but the story is about so much more. It's about a parent's love for their child. And that innate ability, desire, and wish to protect them even from the grave. It's about embracing grief but not allowing it to consume you.

Naima Simone's Christmas in Rose Bend is a must-read story. I'm a huge fan of Christmas but I don't think the story should be saved for Christmastime. The true message of the story can and does resonate all year long. I also recommend having tissues nearby.

~ Favorite Quotes ~

“Love, trust, security, protection and acceptance trumped blood every time.”

“Christmas may mean various things for us, for most, we can agree, it’s a time of peace, love, joy and family. A time when the world is a little bit softer, kinder and yes, more beautiful.”

“It’s not easy trying to hold on to someone so determined to push you away.”

“Things happen for a reason, when they’re supposed to happen.”

“Our history is a part of us, but it doesn’t define us. You have nothing to be ashamed of. So stop acting like it.”

“It’s all a case of mind over matter. You shouldn’t mind because they don’t matter.”

“Christmas is a time for miracles.”

“You can’t change what was. But you do have now. And here, this moment and what you do with it is what matters.”

“We say things we don’t mean when we’re hurt.”

“It’s more of a risk to do nothing than to try, take a risk and perhaps fail. Because even if I fail, I learn something. But if I don’t try, I learn nothing.”

**Personal Purchase**

Rating: 5

Purchase Christmas in Rose Bend from:

The Rose Bend Series:

Slow Dance at Rose Bend ~ Review
The Road to Rose Bend ~ Review
A Kiss to Remember ~ Review

You can read an excerpt of Christmas in Rose Bend here.

The Love List releases March 1, 2022

With Love from Rose Bend releases March 29, 2022

Published since 2009, USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone loves writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. Her books have been featured in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and described as balancing “crackling, electric love scenes with exquisitely rendered characters caught in emotional turmoil.”

She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

Places to find Naima Simone:


  1. This sounds really good. Nessa sounds like someone I can relate to.

    1. I loved this story. There is so so so much more going on that I didn't even talk about. I didn't want to ruin anything or put in spoilers. There were definitely a lot of tears on my part.

  2. Oh wow! Now I am even more curious to read it.


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