I have to admit that I generally don’t read anthologies unless I really like one or more of the authors who are among the contributing writers. I am a big fan of Megan Hart and I have read the novella that is the original novel for the Lauren Dane’s contribution so I opted to pick this anthology up. I can’t say that it thrilled me nor left me disappointed but it was a nice holiday read all the same. Rather than giving the reader of this review an in-depth overview of each story – way too long to read on a blog – I have included a link to the book information so that the reader can get a better idea of what each story is actually about. Click on the image for the book information.
The first story, Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey, was simply delicious. I really liked the story line of the boy-next-door-who-has-turned-totally-hot romance. Makes me wish one of the guys I knew in high school secretly crushed on me and is now totally sexy and really successful. Sigh… not going to happen. I liked both Chloe and Scott’s characters and the dynamic that the author creates between them. The love scenes are steamy and totally keep the reader interested. This was my favorite story in the anthology by far.
Next comes All She Wants For Christmas by Jaci Burton, an author I have never even heard of before. So I was a little excited for my first experience with her writing. I very much enjoyed her writing style and the way she really gets the reader into her short story. Riley and Ethan just about lit up my pages with the emotion they both had bottled up inside. This was another story that had an appealing plot line with a great ending that gave me butterflies.
Bring on my old time favorite, Megan Hart, with her contribution Unwrapped. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. The story had little substance – the female lead insecure about the changes to come in her marriage. I found myself a little bored. Don’t get me wrong, the intimate moments are hot and very appealing but there was nothing else to the story in general. It was still well written and I did like the characters but I wanted more of a story line and more excitement between the characters.
Finally we have Believe by Lauren Dane. I didn’t particularly like the original story for Rori and Jude but I had hoped that this one would be better. Unfortunately, I still found the s/m aspect not to my taste and the power struggle between the characters too much for me. I want romance with a bit of heat not power trips and unnecessary domination outside the bedroom. I never liked Jude as a hero and I still don’t. Other readers may like the dynamic between him and Rori so I would not skip this story but it definitely did not work for me. It also didn’t turn me off of Lauren Dane, I would still read more from her just not another story about Jude and Rori.
The love scenes in each story range slightly in heat but overall are Hot Hot Hot! I would give it a 9.5 out of 10 on my Sexy Scale. (10 being very graphic in sexy content – 1 being so tame there isn’t even a real kiss… ok, well maybe a chaste one)
Overall, a good anthology that defiantly turns up the heat for the holidays. Each author brings their own style and flair to the stories and I would definitely read another anthology featuring these authors. I give this book a 7.5 out of 10 overall.
– My reviews can also be found on The Season for Romance. Check out the website, blog, and forum for great reviews, covers, announcements and more!