Snowy days and steamy nights
This year, a modern-day Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas with the help of a suddenly sexy old friend. A down-on-his-luck baseball star finds a beautiful new beginning with a hometown girl. And a prim-and-proper teacher is determined to bring out the holiday spirit in a grumpy tree farmer. Settle in for the season with this collection of very merry short fiction.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I love the Carina Press holiday anthologies, and this year I couldn’t wait to see what Angela James had in store for us. The contemporary romance lover in me was super excited to see so many contemp stories this year, and getting the chance to read more of a new favorite, Alison Packard, was an extra special treat. Two of the stories in this anthology I absolutely adored, and unfortunately the third was a little lost on me.
A Christmas for Carrie by Alison Packard
Carrie has never enjoyed Christmas, especially since her father died and mother left home. But ever since running into Nick at the coffee shop, Carrie has pledged to give Christmas a chance. With Nick showing her the Holiday spirit, it’s hard not to fall in love with both the season, and the man who was once her study partner.
This is a short story that takes place in Packard’s series on stand alone titles that are all loosely connected. I loved her previous baseball book, so getting a glimpse at another sports-like hero, Nick the agent, was a fun little treat.
I liked the fact that Carrie was the one to look down on Christmas, and how Nick did anything and everything he could think of to bring her around to the joy of the season. I loved their romance and how it was quick to build on the friendship they had in high school. I thought Packard did a wonderful job of building the romance up slowly, and how they really did work on becoming friends again, before worrying and stressing about moving their relationship forward.
All in all this story was by far my favorite in the anthology, and I can’t wait for Packard’s next full length book. I *think* we got a little sneak peak at the hero, and I’m so excited to read more about him, as well as Nick and Carrie.
I give A Christmas for Carrie an A
Christmas Curveball by Shari Mikels
Mikels is a debut author, and her story about Rachel falling in love with her brother’s best friend was so cute! I loved the fact that although Rachel knew she had been in love with Kevin most of her life, she was also aware of how difficult his lifestyle was. It wasn’t until she came knocking on his door during the holidays that Kevin realized how much he wanted Rachel in his life.
I, personally, adore the older brother’s best friend trope. I loved the way that Rachel was able to tease Kevin about their past, and use their deep friendship to help him out of the funk that his life without baseball had become. I thought the scene where she revealed that she had spied on him and her brother was too perfect!
Another aspect I loved about this story was how Kevin was so determined to win Rachel, in spite of all the hesitancies she showed. Rachel was so worried about not being enough, about Kevin’s womanizing past, that she was more than a little gun-shy. Watching Kevin woo her in all the ways he could think of was so wonderful, and really endeared the story that much more!
All in all I thought this was a fabulous debut from Mikels, and I am absolutely looking forward to more. I thought the romance was super sweet and I loved both Rachel and Kevin.
I give Christmas Curveball a B+
Kissing Her Scrooge by Kinley Cade
Hannah does her very best to make Christmas better than last year, despite how many people she drives batty. But the one man who catches her eye is Griff, the local Scrooge. The two are an unlikely pair, but the tension between them continues to drive them together. Possibly forever.
I really did not connect with this story at all. I thought Hannah was selfish and wishy-washy and the kind of heroine that I wasn’t at all interested in becoming invested in. Add in her meddlesome and immature sisters and I didn’t really have any interest in reading this story after only a few paragraphs, but I stuck with it.
I thought Griff was a good hero, but I really struggled with understanding why he was with Hannah. I never felt their attraction, and I couldn’t understand why he dealt with her obsessive desire to make Christmas perfect.
All in all I really didn’t like this story. I struggled with the heroine, the romance, and the overall plot didn’t hook me as much as other Christmas stories I’ve read in the past.
I give Kissing Her Scrooge a D
Overall I thought this was another strong and wonderful Carina Press Holiday anthology. I adored Packard and Mikels’ contributions and thought they were both fabulous Christmas novellas. Another fabulous read for contemporary romance fans looking for additional Christmas stories to read this year!
I give For My Own a B