• Kissing Under the Mistletoe: A St. Helena Vineyard Novel, Book 1

  • By: Marina Adair
  • Narrated by: Renee Raudman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (408 ratings)

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Kissing Under the Mistletoe: A St. Helena Vineyard Novel, Book 1

By: Marina Adair
Narrated by: Renee Raudman
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Publisher's Summary

Regan Martin stopped believing in Christmas miracles the day she discovered her fiancé was already married.

The fallout cost her everything - her career, her home, and her impeccable reputation in the wine industry. But now she has a second chance with a dream job in the Napa Valley, and a cozy cottage for her and her daughter, whose one Christmas wish is for a forever home.

But those hopes are threatened when Gabe DeLuca, the scorned wife’s brother, tries to drive Regan out of town - even if he can’t seem to drive the luscious beauty from his thoughts. When his attempts to get her to leave backfire, he sees that Regan may hold the key to tracking down his sister’s stolen start-up capital. As Christmas nears, Gabe realizes Regan might even be his Christmas wish and hold the key to his heart.

©2012 Marina Adair (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Kissing Under the Mistletoe: A St. Helena Vineyard Novel, Book 1

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed Feelings on this One!

I don’t know what my true feelings are about this book. Regan was nineteen years old when she was taken advantage of by an older man, who was her mentor, and who also neglected to tell her he was married. Absconding with the funds from the project he was overseeing, abandoning his wife, and leaving his lover pregnant, Regan becomes the target of the DeLucas, who believed she was in on the swindle with him. She was blackballed from every job she got, from California to Oregon, the only thing she knew was the wine industry,but whereever she went the DeLucas found her and used their influence to get her fired. This really bothered me because how long and how far will someone go to make someone’s life miserable, and to keep them from making a life for themselves. The De Luca’s are rich, powerful and with lots of influence in the wine business, was their hounding of this poor girl necessary? Was Gabe DeLucas sister so fragile that she needed her brothers to hound this poor woman for 6 years? Did they ever consider how young she was when she was involved with their brother in law? How suave his brother in law was, and how he used his position to manipulate this young woman, just as he manipulated the De Lucas and their sister, his wife?

Admittedly, Regan made some silly choices and mistakes in this story that annoyed me to no end. However, I loved the three Mrs. Clauses, it seemed to me they were the only ones in this story with an ounce of sense. Gabe DeLuca was redeemed later in my eyes, when he realized what his interference in her life had cost her and her daughter, his guilt kicked in, he then realized maybe she was the innocent she seemed and had been a victim as much as his sister had.
One thing I can say about Regan is that she never gave up, she was determined to make a good life for her daughter. Though the story ended happily, I was still unsatisfied, I never heard an apology from the rest of the family for their treatment of her for the past 6 years.

Renee Raudman did an excellent job with her narration of this story.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Touching Story

This was my first book/audio by Marina Adair, but won't be the last. She's a wonderful author. She has a way with words that keeps the reader/listener interested, not using a lot of 'filler words' like so many authors do.

It's a sweet story that stirs a variety of emotions...some laughter and perhaps a few tears.

It's about the plight of a single parent, Regan, made harder by the head of the poweful Deluca family, whom she unknowingly wronged. Believing he is protecting his family, he makes her professional life a nightmare, stalking her all over the country, getting her fired and keeping her from getting jobs. Not able to support her daughter and herself in her chosen profession, she takes a job as a maid, but finds help and friendship in the most unexpected places.

Most of the characters are very likeable. Regans 5 year old daughter, Holly, is adorable.

Renee Raudman gave a good performance. At first I didn't think I would like her narration, but she got better, and better as the story progressed.

I would recommend "Kissing Under The Mistletoe" to all romantics.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Book, HORRIFIC Narrator

It is a testament to the author's skill and her ability to create a story interesting enough for me to power through the AWFUL narration. I had forgotten the name of the narrator for Ilona Andrews' Clean Sweep who ruined that book (and that author since she apparently narrates many of her books) for me. Renee Raudman...NEVER again. Weirdly, my problems with her are different in the two books. (In Clean Sweep, she made a 20-something girl sound like an 89-yo southern belle in an old folks home- which was a major turn off for me.) In this book, it sounded like she was narrating with a retainer in her mouth. The resulting "schw" sound for all the "s" sounds was like a cross between Humphrey Bogart and Daffy Duck, "Schweethearth, yer deschpicable." Sadly, you can't tell that from the audio sample since it is only seconds long and mostly consists of intro music. I'm guessing that's intentional.

As for the story, the characters were well-developed and interesting. There was great comedic humor mixed with pretty serious drama in a fairly realistic setting. It is romance, hence, "fairly realistic." I really liked the story, obviously, or I would never have gotten through the first chapter. I found myself liking these people and their town and wanting to know what will happen to them in the future and how they will grow and change. This is my first book by Marina Adair, and IF there is a different narrator for her other books, it will definitely not be my last. Unfortunately, I just DO NOT have the time to sit down and read, so if RR is contracted for more books, I will have to pass. This was a Kindle Unlimited Read and Listen for Free title. As such, I am satisfied with being introduced to a new-to-me author. However, had I spent a credit or cash, I'd have to ask for it back due to the heinous narration.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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nah

i got so bored that reading it is so dragging. story is so boring that as much as i want to finish every page of it, i jump to the last chapter just to finish it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Had this been my first

I would never read or listen to this author again! Gabe is a complete jerk and continues being a jerk throughout the book! How or why he ends up with the girl is beyond me. I have read and listened to other books in this series prior to to this one that I like much more. If you listen to this one first please give her other books a try.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It was a more or less mindless listen. I went in not expecting greatness. The 'hero' was an as*hat, and in my opinion his acts were unforgivable. But, it is fiction, and one has to suspend the whole reality thing and just take it as it is.

Has Kissing Under the Mistletoe: A St. Helena Vineyard Novel, Book 1 turned you off from other books in this genre?

Absolutely not. It is one of my favorites.

Have you listened to any of Renee Raudman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

All the same, I think she's a good narrator, does well with the different voices.

Any additional comments?

I picked this up with the Kindle Unlimited, so it was utterly free, I'm not sure I'd have been so accepting of its mediocrity had I paid money for it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Supposed to be humorous.

Many uninteresting misunderstandings, adding troubles upon troubles for poor Regan. Some readers will enjoy this type of humor in a slapstick sort of way, but it did not work for me. I was impatient, wanting it to be over.

Regan is a single mom who has been unable to find work in her field (wine marketing) for six years - because Gabe repeatedly sabotages her career. He is wealthy and influential in the wine industry. Regan’s goal in life is providing the best she can for her daughter Holly. Regan does stupid things and makes stupid choices which snowball into problems.

The story opens with stupidity. Regan sees Gabe in a grocery story. She’s so upset that she walks out of the store without paying for her purchase. Then she damages Gabe’s car by running her grocery cart into it and throws several small statues from the nearby Christmas display at his car causing a broken window, dents, and scratches. He watches her do this. Then she puts one of the statues (Randolph a reindeer) in her trunk and drives away. The subject of who will pay for the damages to his car and the statues never comes up in the book. The town is upset at the theft of Randolph, with the sheriff planning to arrest the thief.

Randolph in her car trunk causes repeated problems for Regan. Notices are posted asking for help to find Randolph. So why does Regan tear down a bunch of notices to throw them away? And then she is seen doing that. She tries a few times to return Randolph but people are there. Why didn’t she go in the middle of the night? Or leave him somewhere with an anonymous note or a phone call to the authorities. No, she creates embarrassing situations for herself.

Another poor choice:
Isabelle wants to hurt and humiliate Regan every chance she gets. Regan knows this. Regan is a single mom working as a hotel maid. So why does Regan let Isabelle sign her up to volunteer for the children’s Christmas play? She later discovers that Isabelle signed her up as chairwomen of the most expensive and time consuming job. Instead of getting out of it claiming there was a misunderstanding, Regan takes it on. Has she no brain? Has she no backbone?

One part I liked:
One dimensional Isabelle. For those who have volunteered for charitable organizations, you will find parts of Isabelle in the most unpleasant people you’ve known and had to work with.

As to the romance:
Regan and Gabe desire each other and begin a relationship, but during the book a series of things happen causing misunderstandings and problems for them. These problems did not entertain me - maybe because they were one person assuming something inaccurate about the other - causing angst and worry. For example, she doesn’t tell him a minor thing from her past. When he later discovers it he is angry and disses her in public - won’t take her phone call. It’s a problem because only part of the story was told to him, not the whole thing. When he later learns the whole story, it’s no problem after all. Yes these types of misunderstandings are commonly used in romances. Sometimes they work. But for me they did not work here.

The narrator Renee Raudman was ok.

Genre: contemporary romance.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Kissing Under The Mistletoe

Loved this book! It took me a while to find this series but I am on the St. Helena train so don't let me off until I finish it! Regan has just settled into a new job and she and her daughter are happy but just then her nemesis shows up and turns everything wrong. Gabe has been working against her. Regan had an affair with her boss, a married man, years ago although at the time she didn't know he was married, and it turned out he was married to Gabe's sister. Now Gabe has been there every time Regan starts a new job to get her fired. Now, though, Gabe gets to know Regan and that is all it takes. All that chemistry has to go somewhere. Don't forget the grannies! Bring on the next book!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Had to give up on this one.

Narration was good. Storyline was good but silliness took over about half way through and ruined what could have been a very good book. What was this author thinking!?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Kissing Under the Mistletoe

I enjoyed this audible . From beginning to end kept you wanting more amazement .

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  • JC
  • 12-12-16

predictable and cheesey!

I hate having to day this but for me this book was dreadful. The "plot" was predictable and the characters flimsy. I was not able to engage with any of the characters probably because the plot was so farcical.
Why is the lead female always poor, goofy and appears to be strong but can only survive due to the attentions of a man with a perfect body, a huuuge ***** (or package as the author used).
Oh and he is always very wealthy!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Agnieszka Bania
  • 11-18-16

a sweet lighthearted Christmas romance

A wonderfully read sexy, romantic comedy, perfect round Christmas time and with a hot chocolate by your side

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MRS T
  • 01-15-16

totally great read

Lovely first book of the series and was absolutely great, fantastic characters that had me hooked from beginning to end

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Leigh UK
  • 07-30-15

Totally Feel Good!

I love it when a book ends and I'm left smiling and feeling all loved-up. Sigh!