Holiday Kisses – Alison Kent, Jaci Burton, HelenKay Dimon, Shannon Stacey

Holiday Kisses***Disclaimer: I got an e-copy of this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest opinion. So here it is!***

Summary:

Carina Press brings together four stories of holiday romance.

This Time Next Year features a woman on her way to visit her Grandmother before spending a year in Malawi volunteering as a nurse. But when she’s rescued from a snowbank by a gorgeous man on horseback, her holiday plans take an interesting turn.

A Rare Gift centers on a man who agrees to take on a construction project for the day-care run by his ex-wife’s younger sister. When he realizes that she is nothing like her sister, his heart softens to her.

In It’s Not Christmas Without You, a man follows the woman he loves to convince her to come back home with him. But their own insecurities threaten to tear them apart for good.

Mistletoe and Margaritas tells the story of a man desperately in love with his best friend’s widow. Friends become more when she decides it’s time to move on from the memories.

Review:

It’s always tough reviewing an anthology. Especially when the theme is related to holidays, as this one is. It forces the hands of the authors to develop a true love story in a short time-frame, and I, for one, have a really hard time believing stories where the characters are confessing their love after only a couple weeks. It’s Not Christmas Without You & Mistletoe and Margaritas, however, benefit from couples who already know each other and are either friends or lovers already. This would be a good read for cold winter nights when you just need a little distraction.

Rating:

4hearts

Fighting for You – Sydney Landon

Fighting For You - Sydney Landon***Disclaimer: I got an e-copy of this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest opinion. So here it is!***

Summary:

Ella Webber has spent her whole life being the good little girl a preacher’s daughter ought to be. Now that she’s out on her own, she’s determined to do what she wants. And what she wants is Declan Stone! Back home after a couple tours in the army, Declan believes that he’s damaged goods, not at all what sweet Ella needs. Can Ella persuade Declan that sometimes a good girl just needs to be a little bad?

Review:

This book surprised me. The description I read of it made it seem like Ella was kind of nerdy and shy, and I love nerdy women in books! So, when I discovered that Ella is supposed to be super innocent (read: virgin), I was somewhat annoyed. That character device usually makes me want to stop reading the book altogether, but I always trudge through to the end amidst many eye-rolls and scoffs. HOWEVER! The saving grace, is that Ella has grown up a preacher’s daughter, and you are introduced to how ridiculous and over-bearing her parents are, especially her mother. With that background, the situation is far more plausible. And it also helps that Ella isn’t a total pushover! She fights for what she wants, which is a huge plus in my book. Overall, I did enjoy this book, even if I was thrown for a bit of a loop at the beginning!

 

Rating:

4hearts

Undeniable – Shannon Richard

Undeniable - Shannon Richard***Disclaimer: I got an e-copy of this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest opinion. So here it is!***

Summary:

Grace King has been in love with Jaxson Anderson since she was 6. As her big brother’s best friend, he has always protected her from the local gossip about her absent father. But Jax’s home life left him feeling unworthy and undeserving of happiness. Can Grace prove to Jax that he’s not just what she deserves, he’s what she needs?

Review:

There are so many amazing sub-plots within this story! It’s not your average straight-forward romance. An uptight woman airs the towns dirty laundry on her blog, several local homes and businesses are being robbed, one of the characters is accidentally outed, and a trio of guys are harassing Grace. The characters are extremely authentic, right down to their insecurities. And there are LOTS of characters. This is the second in the debut series by the author and she is clearly developing the relationships that will be the focus of future novels. I’m hooked for sure, and after reading the excerpt, I’m especially looking forward to “Unstoppable,” available December 3rd!

Rating:

5hearts

Here Comes Trouble – Erin Kern

Here Comes Trouble - Erin Kern***Disclaimer: I got an e-copy of this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest opinion. So here it is!***

Summary:

Lacy Taylor has had a hard-knock life. Her father is an addict and a thief, and her mother abandoned them when Lacy was young. Chase  McDermott grew up under the iron fist of his father, but now enjoys his play-boy lifestyle. He also enjoys pushing Lacy’s buttons! And when they take that passion to the bedroom, all bets are off! But can Lacy learn to trust her heart to love? Or will Chase disappoint her and leave like everyone else?

Review:

This book really didn’t hold my attention. And I think the main reason for that is that there was no tension. Okay, yes, there was some tension. But for each problem that came up, a perfect solution was found within the next 2 or 3 chapters! There seemed to be a lot of missed opportunities for plot development, and it was a prime example of storytelling versus storyshowing. The characters did a lot of thinking, which isn’t awful, but I would have much preferred that the plot be developed by actions and comments instead. There aren’t very many scenes with the two main characters spending time together, so the dynamic between them doesn’t make sense. Chase is cocky, bordering on misogynistic, and Lacy’s emotions are all over the place! The only character I really liked was Brody, but I’m not sure if I’ll read on in the series to find out his story.

Rating:

2hearts

Always On My Mind – Jill Shalvis

Always On My Mind - Jill Shalvis***Disclaimer: I got an e-copy of this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest opinion. So here it is!***

Summary:

Leah Sullivan and Jack Harper have been friends since they were kids, growing up next door to each other. Jack was always Leah’s refuge from her less-than-perfect home life. Now, after participating in a reality baking competition, Leah’s back in town to run her grandma’s bakery. Hoping to lift the spirits of Jack’s mother, Leah tells her that she and Jack are dating! But what starts out as acting, soon becomes an attraction that neither can resist!

Review:

You have no idea how excited I was to get approved for this title! Jill Shalvis is one of my favorite authors OF ALL TIME! And this book did not disappoint! It was fun to watch the characters come together and break each and every one of their own rules. With so much history between the characters, you really feel like they’re made for each other. And there’s a subplot where an arsonist is setting fires to different buildings throughout the town, which heightens the pace, and keeps the story moving. And after reading the excerpt for the next book, I’m even more excited for “Once in a Lifetime” which conveniently comes out just before Valentine’s Day! I’ll have to make sure to drop hints to the husband!

Rating:

4hearts

Delectable – Adrianne Lee

Delectable - Adrianne Lee***Disclaimer: I got an e-copy of this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest opinion.***

Summary:

Not even a month of fishing couldn’t take away the hurt and pain Quint McCoy feels. He’s lost his father to a heart attack, and his wife to his own stubbornness and anger. Pushing Callee away was the dumbest thing he’s ever done, and he’s determined to win her back. When his mother suffers a heart attack just before her new pie-shop is slated to open, Quint must work together with Callee to find a pastry chef to fill in. Will Callee learn to trust Quint again and salvage their marriage before the divorce papers are finalized?

Review:

I’m not really sure what to make of this book. There was a lot going on, the characters weren’t that strong, and it just didn’t hold my interest. Quint is really selfish. Like, REALLY selfish. I understand that he was grieving the loss of his father, and I can’t even imagine how hard that would be. But he never considers what anyone else is going through, not even his mother! Or his wife! And later, when they are looking for a pastry chef, it turns out he knows the perfect person for the job, and REFUSES to utilize that person! And he doesn’t even have a good reason, either. And that refusal makes everyone else have to do a lot more work. I also wish Callee had been a bit more strong and assertive. This book was classified as “Women’s Fiction” which I don’t often read, so maybe that had something to do with my dissatisfaction.

Rating:

2hearts

Dangerous Curves Ahead – Sugar Jamison

Dangerous Curves Ahead - Sugar Jamison***Disclaimer: I got an e-copy of this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for my honest opinion.***

Summary:

Mike Edwards is the last person Ellison Garret expected to see again. The last time she saw him was at her law-school graduation party, in nothing but his Calvins, in her bedroom… with her sister! Even after the complete spectacle she made, throwing them out of her apartment, Mike doesn’t recognize her when they run into each other four years later! When he realizes who she is, he’s interested in getting to know her better, and being more than friends. But after the way her ex treated her, will Ellis ever be able to trust a hunk like Mike with her heart? Neither is looking for love and marriage, but sometimes love hits you when you’re not looking!

Review:

Buy this book right now! And then pre-order the next two! I know I do a lot of gushing in some of these reviews, but this is one of the best books I have read in a VERY long time! Sugar Jamison is one to keep an eye on folks! After finishing this book, I stalked her down on all the social media sites I could find her on so that I wouldn’t miss anything! Ellis is delightfully sassy without being a snob, and Mike is incredibly thoughtful, with just a hint of attitude. The character dynamics (especially with their families) really push this book above and beyond. It’s not a straightforward boy-meets-girl love story. It’s complicated and messy and real and completely fantastic! Why are you still reading this review, when you could be reading the book?!!? Get it now!

Rating:

5hearts