I love Christmas Romances, especially military romances so I was quite excited to read Operation Christmas Hearts.
The Good: Both of the primary characters in this book were incredibly likeable. Ashley was a very down-to-earth woman with realistic expectations out of life and love. The fact that she was so against being ‘the girl left behind’ made her very easy to identify with. Nick was, in a word, yummy. (Picture Channing Tatum?) He did, said, and felt all the right things …for the reader to fall in love with him. As for what Ashley saw, he made a few mistakes, occasionally had a little trouble understanding where she was coming from and of course, had to run off and play soldier. All of those things added up to a very human and realistic male lead. The circumstances they went through were not all smooth sailing but they were believable, even the touch of Christmas Magic involved.
The Bad: The story is told in both real-time and flashbacks, occasionally breaking up some emotion-filled moments. The book was filled with information and the storyline needed that information in order to continue to move along. However, it also made the story seem to drag at times and kept it from being the page-turner I would have liked.
The Snuggly: I must say, this was an incredibly mild book when it came to intimacy and sensuality. I kept thinking (hoping?) Ashley and Nick were going to get more intimate but they just …didn’t. You know what? I was okay with that. You could see that they were seriously into each other yet they also were, I guess, waiting for the right moment.
The Rest: The storyline was filled with hope and that is what I loved about it the most. There were some very sad and tense moments but threaded throughout the story was the Hope. The language and snuggly content were very clean and Operation Christmas Hearts would be acceptable for all lovers of romance. Just be sure you read it being open to sparkle, hope, and a little bit of Christmas Pixie Dust.
Ashley Torrington never cared much about Christmas before. But this year she’s having a particularly blue holiday because Marine Special Operations Team member, Nick Turner got under her skin just before he was deployed to Afghanistan. With her neighbors’ precocious daughter Bella volunteering Ashley for a special project at school, and a mysterious white-haired stranger named Estelle in town buying gifts from Ashley’s shop, not to mention the odd assortment of presents Ashley’s been receiving from an anonymous source, she shouldn’t have time to worry about her guy. But when he and his team go missing the week before Christmas, she realizes only a Christmas miracle will reunite them.
Captain Nicholas Turner never backed down from challenges—on the battlefield or in his personal life. But he’d never met a challenge like Ashley, who doesn't want to be anyone’s “girl back home.” Now he’s on the other side of the world, wanting to be anywhere but in Afghanistan for Christmas. About to embark on one of the most dangerous missions of his life, he needs Ashley to know she’s much more than the girl he’d left behind, and he does plan to come home to her. But in the meantime, a little Christmas magic would be appreciated. Little does he know, he’s about to get his wish.