I would be remiss if I didn’t actually review a Christmas book on Christmas – so even though it is still a couple of hours away, voila! Now time to go back to NORAD and tracking Santa ;)
Naughty and Nice: Three Holiday Treats
Authors: Ruthie Knox, Molly O’Keefe, Stefanie Sloane
ROOM AT THE INN by Ruthie Knox
Carson Vance couldn’t wait to get out of Potter Falls, but now that he’s back to spend Christmas with his ailing father, he must face all the people he left behind . . . like Julie Long, whose heart he broke once upon a time. Now the proprietor of the local inn, Julie is a successful, seductive, independent woman—everything that Carson’s looking for. But despite several steamy encounters under the mistletoe, Julie refuses to believe in happily ever after. Now Carson must prove to Julie that he’s back for good—and that he wants her in his life for all the holidays to come.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU by Molly O’Keefe
Maddy Baumgarten and Billy Wilkins are spontaneous, in love, and prepared to elope the day after Christmas—that is, if Maddy’s family doesn’t throw a wrench in their plans. After all, Maddy’s barely out of high school and Billy’s a notorious bad boy. Maddy doesn’t care about Billy’s rough past—all she cares about is living in the here and now. But after Maddy’s mother stops speaking to her in protest, and a Christmas Eve heart-to-heart with her father leaves her with butterflies, Maddy starts to get cold feet. She loves Billy, but is she taking this big step too soon?
ONE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Stephanie Sloane
After being jilted by her fiancé, Jane Merriweather turns to her dear childhood friend, the Honorable Lucas Cavanaugh, for support—and unlocks the smoldering desire simmering in the man’s troubled heart. Frightened by his newfound feelings, Lucas flees to Scotland. But when the Christmas season brings them together again, one glance is all that’s needed to reignite his yearning. If Lucas can convince Jane that his intentions are as pure as the falling snow, they’ll turn a dreary December into a joyous Yuletide affair.
I always have a hard time writing reviews when it comes to anthologies, but an even harder job rating the book – do I rate it overall or do each story separately; should I average out the reviews for an overall (and yes, I know that I am probably overthinking this!) Anyways, I think for this instance, I am going to break them down into individual ratings and then average the ratings out.
The star of the anthology was definitely Ruthie Knox’s book – i have to say that she has become one of my favorite new authors that I discovered in 2012. Her romance set while biking across the US is a top 20 book for me. I loved the tension between Julie and Carson until they finally caved and gave into their feelings that had never really gone away. Carson’s relationship with his father was entertaining – you could see a hint of a matchmaker in him – a bit of deviousness. I have to admit when I saw the title of this story that I was expecting a trite play on the birth of Christ that seems to always happen in books set around Christmas – so I was pleasantly surprised to not have to deal with that. I’d give this story a solid 4 stars.
My least favorite of the three was Molly O’Keefe’s. I think mostly because it was the shortest and I just didn’t feel like I got a chance to know any of the characters. Maddy drove me nuts with her naivity and it was like I could easily see what was going to happen in the future (which was confirmed with the glimpse into the next book in the series that I saw). I honestly don’t know if I will be picking up any books by her in the future – probably only borrow from the library, or with a very strong recommendation from a friend. Overall, I’d only give this story 2 stars
The last book in the anthology fell right in the middle for me. I didn’t like it as much as Ruthie’s, but I am intrigued enough, that I added one of the authors other books to my ever expanding TBR list to read in the future. I liked that it was the only historical in the bunch – it was something different that was needed. The secondary characters/animals kind of made the story for me – especially the donkey – I just laughed as his antics. There were a few moments of stupidity between the main couple (and I wanted to Gibbs slap them for sure) – but they did kind of grow on me. I hope that they appear in other books by her in the future, because I want to know more.
The anthology in general was well-written, and aside from the one disappointing story, it was well worth the read. And even then it wasn’t like the disappointing story was badly written, it was (for me) just too short and lacking omph. Overall, averaging out the ratings, I would give it 3 stars, but making it 3.5 to weigh in the fact that the story I liked the most, was a chunk of the book (I think that is good justification!).
Merry Christmas Everyone! Hope to see you all in the New Year!