Friday, November 15, 2013


               MARY ANN HUDSON &
               SERENA BELL.
Pages: 378
Date: 14/11/2013
Grade: 4-
Details: Received from Loveswept
            Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“As leftover turkey and stuffing give way to stockings and little black dresses, this tantalizingly sexy eBook bundle offers up holiday-themed novellas from a trio of beloved romance authors. Lisa Renee Jones gives a dedicated reporter and a powerful businessman a chance to count their Thanksgiving blessings in Play with Me; Mary Ann Rivers presents Snowfall, the story of a woman who confronts a life-changing event—hopefully with a special man by her side—just in time for Christmas; and in Serena Bell’s After Midnight, an explosive New Year’s kiss leaves two strangers wondering whether they’ll ever see each other again.”

PLAY WITH ME by Lisa Renee Jones (4)

The blurb:

Kali Miller has spent three years reporting fluff stories, waiting for the article that will launch her career to new heights. When she suddenly finds herself forced to take a job as an executive secretary at a Vegas casino, Kali meets the subject of what will surely be a shocking exposé: her boss, Damion Ward, the arrogant and undeniably sexy CEO. But after Damion invites her to help him plan a Thanksgiving charity event, Kali begins to see another side of the man. And when she surrenders to the exhilarating tension simmering between them, Kali hopes her story will have a happy ending.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone following my reviews that I enjoy Lisa Renee Jones’ writing. Just as it didn’t surprise me that this was an easy to read, easy to lose yourself in sort of story. However, this story, to me also felt a bit too rushed, both in the way it was written and in the way the story progressed. I’m all for romantic stories, and am in fact a sucker for instant attraction between two characters. And yet I couldn’t help feeling that everything in this story happened a bit too fast. In fact, I am convinced that if this story had taken place over, say, three months rather than three weeks, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

That is not to say I disliked this story. Lisa Renee Jones does steamy between two characters so well the heat radiates of the page.But to have that heat acted upon within minutes of two characters meeting is a bit too fast for me, no matter how strong the attraction.

SNOWFALL by Mary Ann Rivers (3)

The blurb:

Jenny Wright can’t get enough of her erotic conversations with someone she knows only as “C.” Flirting online helps Jenny temporarily escape confronting the changes to her life as she slowly loses her vision. Jenny’s occupational therapist, Evan Carlisle-Ford, is helping her prepare for the challenges ahead, but the forthright, trustworthy man can no longer ignore his growing attraction to his fiercely intelligent client. Now Jenny must choose between the safe, anonymous “C”—or the flesh-and-blood Evan, whose heated kisses can melt snow faster than it can fall.

Snowfall is the sort of story in which I loved the concept and wasn’t too fond of the execution. Or rather, I couldn’t quite follow the thoughts of Jenny. The way her emotions and reactions are described just didn’t click with me. Time and again I found myself thinking, hang on, what did I just read and having to go back to try and make sense of what I’d read. I’m afraid I’m not a patient enough reader for that. And so I found myself just reading on, regardless of whether or not I understood Jenny’s thoughts and feelings. And as a consequence I almost certainly missed some of what was happening to Jenny. And that is a shame because, I did love the idea behind the story – of a woman coming to terms with the fact that she’s losing her vision and might be going blind.

Because writing style and the way words are used are such a very personal thing I’m convinced that what didn’t work for me in this novella may well be what works perfectly well for another reader.
AFTER MIDNIGHT by Serena Bell (4)

The blurb:

The clock is ticking down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, and all Nora Hart and Miles Shephard can think about is kissing each other—even though they met just minutes before. Then, as fast as Miles enters Nora’s life, he’s gone . . . and she never even gets the name of the man she thinks might just be “the one.” One year later, Nora and Miles are reunited. The chemistry between them is just as strong as they remember. But Miles broke her heart once before—and this time around, Nora’s not sure whether she can give love a second chance.

This is a sweet story centered around two likeable characters who both are exactly what the other needs but meet at the wrong time. Nora has just broken up with her cheating long-term boyfriend and Miles’ fiancé has left him after he’s accused of embezzling money. Their intense meeting on New Year’s Eve lasts barely 15 minutes and yet they are unable to get each other out of their heads. When they meet again, about 11 months later they pick up right where they left off but issues with trust attempt to throw a spanner in the works.

Especially Nora is a wonderful character, refusing to give up on her faith in people just because her boyfriend turned out to be a bastard. Her optimistic nature makes her the sort of character you would like to call your friend. Of course the fact that she is so trusting makes it a bit hard to believe that she’d have such an issue with showing anyone her phone, but that’s a minor issue and not important enough to make me think less of the story. It is, for me at least, impossible not to like a character who comes out with sentiments like the following:

“Of course we’re going to screw up and fail to keep our resolutions. We know that. But we bother and make them anyway. Because we have faith that we can be better people. And we can.”

Overall “Heating up the Holidays” is the perfect seasonal read for those moments when you just want to sit back, relax and lose yourself in a comfortable and sexy romance.

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