Heating Up the Holidays was a great read. This anthology was thoughtfully put together to center around three holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Each story reflects the theme of each holiday in totally remarkable ways befitting these three very talented writers.
In Play With Me by Lisa Renee Jones, Kali Miller wants to start fresh. Having Damion Ward as her boss was not what she expected. Confronted with a typical alpha male, Kali's character was definitely a unique one, she knows how to hold her own and doesn't pull any punches. A Thanksgiving celebration shows her that life has a way of giving you what you need without you knowing it. This was a well written novella despite the fact there was a lot of stuff going on and sometimes felt a bit rushed especially near the end but still a good story.
Mary Ann Rivers' Snowfall, was a poignant, introspective tale centered around Christmas time. Ms. Rivers is one of the few authors I've read who can write novellas very well. Her stories are so compact, intense, humorous, full of life that you forget its just a short book. Snowfall is no exception. Jenny's story felt so real, so in the moment, you wanted to just cry and curse the author and say "But why?!" And when you get to the end, you give out a big sigh and thankfully you get your happy ever after, real life setting. Snowfall is Christmas miracles manifested in a way only Mary Ann Rivers can write, steamy, sexy, thoughtful, poignant and happy.
Serena Bell's After Midnight, rounds up this anthology in a way that depicts New Year's Eve cheers, out with the old in with the new. This was my romantic comedy in the bunch. Miles and Nora both have had a bad year. During a New Year's Eve party where everyone didn't really know anyone, their gazes meet (in Miles' case it fell lower than Nora's eyes), attraction is felt, they click, they laugh and talk and they kiss. Only to separate without knowing each other's names or numbers. Nearly a year has passed and with the magic of social media, they find a way to reconnect. And from there the real story follows. I like Miles, his vulnerability, his insecurities, the way he was characterized felt very real. His trust was broken and it's really hard to get that back. Nora's effervescent charm, her trusting innocence and her willingness to push away negative feelings just to regain her old self was amazing. Not to mention the two of them together was really hot. The author was able to tell a wickedly awesome story thru great dialogues and internal reflections without boring the reader at all. Now that is talent. Nora and Miles' New Year truly reflects beginnings and promises.
*The ARC for this book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review*
Author: Lisa Renee Jones, Mary Ann Rivers, Serena Bell
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holidays
Published: October 28, 2013
Rating: ♨♨♨♨ 4 1/2 of 5 (If you like reading during the holidays, this one will definitely put you in a great holiday mood, not to mention, raising the heat level while making you laugh and cry)