Holiday Romance Binge, Part 3: More Contemporaries

A few anthologies, a few novellas, a novella from another anthology, and one I thought was a novella but was actually a novel which is probably why I got pissy with it.

I kinda forgot about the “Naughty & Nice List” theme, but I can’t think about that right now because I need to figure what to take to the office potluck tomorrow that won’t require cooking or baking. Or buying ingredients. I’m thinking Mint M&Ms. Unless I eat those for breakfast again.

ANYWAY….

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Holiday for Two by Maggie Robinson and Elyssa PatrickHoliday for Two anthology

  • Author(s): Maggie Robinson, Elyssa Patrick
  • Publisher: Self-published, December 2013
  • Pages: 143
  • Source: Purchased

All Through the Night by Maggie Robinson and While It Was Snowing by Elyssa Patrick

I’m combining the review/grade for these because although the stories are both sex-in-a-snowstorm, the authors work reveal their very different characters so perfectly that you think it’s all going according to plan and then it cocks up but you don’t care because you’re all swoony and everything.

Grade: A- for both

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Heating Up the Holidays anthologytHeating Up the Holidays anthology

  • Author(s): Lisa Renee Jones, Mary Ann Rivers, Serena Bell
  • Publisher: Loveswept, October 2013
  • Pages: 378
  • Source: NetGalley

Play With Me by Lisa Renee Jones

CEO heroes rarely work for me, and this was no exception. The chemistry was zingy, but the insta-love romance was so wildly unbelievable, I found myself rooting for the corporate security guy to get the girl instead.

Grade: C-

Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers

There’s a definitely a similarity in premise and tone with her debut novella The Story Guy, but I think Rivers’ distinctive first-person, stream-of-consciousness voice fits the heroine of Snowfall much better. The Mystery Man/Love Triangle aspect was a little forced, but I get the need for another source of tension. Fiercely intelligent, indeed.

Grade: B+

After Midnight by Serena Bell

Bell rocked my socks with her Ticket Home contribution to Strangers on a Train, and I’m still rockin’.  This story is sexy and full of longing (on both sides), and the Black Moment and resolution were spot-on. More, please.

Grade: B+

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Tinsel My Heart by Christi BarthTinsel My Heart

Part of the All I’m Asking For anthology

  • Author(s): Christi Barth
  • Publisher: Carina Press, December 2013
  • Pages: 125
  • Source: Author

There were goats in this book, but I liked it anyway because it was set in Minneapolis and the hero mentions tater tot crapperole (er, casserole). There’s a lot of depth to the main characters, and the supporting cast was just wacky enough, but the Christmas Schmaltz was a little thick.

Grade: B

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Fool's Gold Christmas by Susan MalleryA Fool’s Gold Christmas

  • Author(s): Susan Mallery
  • Publisher: Harlequin HQN, September 2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Source: Author

This is dancer Evie’s story, and it’s boring as hell. If it had been the novella I though it was, I might have had more patience. No goats, though.

Grade: DNF

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Only Us by Susan MalleryOnly Us: A Fool’s Gold Holiday

  • Author(s): Susan Mallery
  • Publisher: Harlequin, November 2011
  • Pages: 125
  • Source: Public library

The pet groomer + vet + plot moppet story was reassuringly predictable, but thankfully shorter and with a (she admits grudgingly) really cute ending.

Grade: B-

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Holiday Kisses anthologyHoliday Kisses anthology

  • Author(s): Jaci Burton, Shannon Stacey, Alison Kent, HelenKay Dimon
  • Publisher: Carina Press, October 2013
  • Pages: 400
  • Source: NetGalley

No go (that’s no GO, not no GOATS – there very well could be goats that no one warned me about) on this one, at least on the first try. I had stayed up late the night before reading the glorious Ripped by Sarah Morgan, so I was tired and cranky when I attempted this anthology and it just wasn’t working for me. I will try again this weekend. Unless the combination of the office potluck and the Susan Wiggs Christmas book puts me into a sugar coma first.

Grade: DNF

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