All right - I am a very big fan of this series. I love it and I have found wonderful authors through reading their sweet novellas. That being said, thAll right - I am a very big fan of this series. I love it and I have found wonderful authors through reading their sweet novellas. That being said, this isn't my favorite of the anthologies, but I still enjoyed most of it. Let me break it down for you....
FORGOTTEN KISSES by Cindy Roland was delightful! I really enjoyed her take on the after-effects of misunderstandings and love gone wrong. Poor Madison Taylor is working her tail off to keep her little family going and finding herself working with her ex-fiance, the oh-so-handsome British celeb Caleb Matthews is a shock. But she squares her shoulders and is ready to prove she's over him! Thankfully, Caleb is more committed to winning back Madison's trust than he is to having tabloid fame. He doesn't just play a knight in shining armor on TV - he is chivalrous and noble of heart. Very sweet story - I enjoyed Roland's writing style and will be looking up more of her work.
THE LAST CHRISTMAS by Annette Lyon was well written and thoughtful, about a couple of the verge of divorce and trying to keep it from their family, but it wasn't my cup of eggnog. For one thing, I don't really enjoy reading romances that are above my age. For another, I felt like Meredith was far too quick to jump on the divorce idea when it was obvious there was very little communication between herself and her husband. As a product of a divorced marriage (twice) I felt her reasons for seeking a divorce were shallow AND she didn't do any work to save the marriage. At least none was hinted at. Counseling would have helped her air her problems to her clueless husband a whole lot sooner. Of course, it all turns around and the clueless husband is clued in with their adult children none the wiser. It just wasn't a good romance for me. Others would likely enjoy it.
TRUTH OR DARE by Julie Coulter Bellon was positively lovely! I really enjoyed how compact the story was, taking place in one setting, in the space of a few hours, with just the right amount of backstory/history between the characters. I also enjoy stories featuring war veterans who are not complexly bitter about war but instead just struggling to adjust to civilian life. Jonah Harrison is sweet and good natured, but he's had a rough time adjusting after losing his foot in Afghanistan. Cami Jackson, the girl-next-door, comes looking for her runaway pooch only to be stranded by a snowstorm and power outage. The two pick up a childhood game, truth or dare, and find they have both grown up. Very sweet, snuggly story. I'll be looking for more by Bellon.
HOLIDAY BUCKET LIST is by my favorite author, Sarah M. Eden. This story is also about a romance taking place between two empty-nesters, but it's so much more enjoyable than I expected it would be! Celeste and Mike have been neighbors forever and helped each other out a lot as their kids grew up. Each knows the perils and pitfalls of being a single parents. But the kids are all gone now, leaving these next door neighbors with time on their hands. It's time to take their friendship up a notch, and I really enjoyed how it unfolded. Loved it.
CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY by Heather B. Moore is my favorite this time around. I love Monica. She is a strong young woman who just needs to have a little more faith in herself. Thankfully, she's coming to see the light about her ultra-controlling-jerk boyfriend, and just in time to meet Jaxon! Jaxon is a wonderful romantic lead - he is thoughtful, conscious of Monica's feelings, and doesn't push for more all at once. Their story is perfect for the holidays, complete with Christmas party, Mr and Mrs Claus, and the matchmaking mama! I would love to visit their little Christmas shop any time!
FIRST (AND LAST) CHRISTMAS by Jennifer Griffith was harder for me to get through. It features a series of romantic missteps, a date where everything goes wrong (including being arrested by cops and falling in a tar pit), and a girl and guy who seem overly done in some aspects. Caricatures, almost. He drives too fast and is terribly rich and smoking hot - he is equated to James Bond several times. She is a pilot with a "smoking hot" little red dress who is eager to go on a date with this guy she hasn't seen in a decade. The whole thing was classified as a romantic comedy, but I had a hard time buying it. I think with a novel-length working of this story it would've been a lot more fun, but it just wasn't for me.
Four out of six enjoyable stories isn't at all bad - and this IS an anthology. What appeals to me might not appeal to you, and vice versa, but overall the Timeless Romance brand always delivers good stories and introduces me to wonderful new authors. :-)
Also, I was given a free copy of this anthology in exchange for my honest review. Yay, me!...more
I'm always hesitant to leave less than stellar reviews - I believe if someone has conquered their fears and been accepted by a publisher they should gI'm always hesitant to leave less than stellar reviews - I believe if someone has conquered their fears and been accepted by a publisher they should get accolades heaped upon them! But this book...it needed a lot of help. The plot was sweet, the main characters had depth, but there was just so much lacking! A good editor and proof reader would have helped a great deal. There was also a lot of "telling" instead of "showing" readers in regards to backstory and emotion. I also felt like we were missing a great deal of believability in terms of the complete and total acceptance of the heroine, the very abrupt way in which the hero declares his love, and all secondary characters were wooden caricatures. :-( Much of the language was period-inaccurate and the conversations immature. This author could do so much better, I think, with a larger publishing house that would help with some of the mistakes and guide the book into a more sophisticated realm of readers. All that being said, I AM keeping an eye on Wendy May Andrews and hoping to see vast improvement. Clean romances are difficult to find and she DOES show promise!...more
I am obviously in the minority when it comes to reviewing this book and I am disappointed I can't give this title a higher rating. Here is a quick lisI am obviously in the minority when it comes to reviewing this book and I am disappointed I can't give this title a higher rating. Here is a quick list of the positive and negative I found as a reader:
Positives: This plot is very refreshing, with a new take on the Regency/Napoleonic time period, focusing on a Cavalry Officer (who happens to be next in line to inherit an Earldom) and the (female!) secretary of a Cryptographer. The story unfolds well during the first three-quarters of the book, with intrigue, spies, murder, misunderstanding, and a disdain for the ton/peerage that is unusual for stories set in this time frame. The romance is also deceptively sweet, for our heroine Aster is is all new and wonderful, yet she can't trust that anyone so dashing and well-born as the Earl/Captain could ever be serious about courting her. For the Captain, he can't explain why this plain/intelligent woman has captured his attention but he is very drawn to her, cares about her, and desires her sexually. (Is this not the fantasy of every plain/intelligent woman out there?) Several points are actually kept hidden from the reader until the end of the book, which both delighted and irritated me. There are usually more hints in a book to allow a reader in on the secret before it is exposed to the characters. Ah well.
Negatives: When the Captain and Aster finally fall into bed together, the story pacing grinds to a halt and the plot is now completely secondary to the two of them obsessing over whether or not they will ever be able to have sex again. While I am by no means a prude, I did find the explicitness of the sexual encounters (and hints of self-pleasuring) completely unnecessary to this particular story and the pacing. I'm not sure what sort of audience the author is going for here. Another reviewer noted that the end of this tale also seems hasty and untidy in its ending, and I completely agree. Now that we've had sex, we're going to neglect to worry about much besides that and rush through to the end of the book and hint strongly at a sequel. I would also like to note that while this novel does well MOST of the time with historical accuracy, sometimes the language is completely out of period or else the historical element is pushed heavily. (How many times do we need to hear about a fichu, for goodness' sakes?)
This book just held so much promise! We even got a very promising secondary character introduced toward the end (a Scottish aunt!) who would have been pleasing to have around for a while longer.
I also noted several minor typos and editing mistakes, but I had no problem overlooking those to enjoy the story.
I received this ebook for free in exchange for my honest review....more
The price is right for a quick, novella-length, modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. ($2.99) The author has a fun take on our classic story but thThe price is right for a quick, novella-length, modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. ($2.99) The author has a fun take on our classic story but there were moments when it wasn't executed well, due mostly to the rapid plot progression - we begin the story at Darcy's proposal instead of having any build up beforehand. Some of the conversation was odd - you had two grown adults using words and language patterns that would be more common of two thirteen year olds. The plot was predictable, despite its modern setting. It was a quick read for me - one evening of insomnia was enough to download and finish this book. I think, with a better editor, this could've been a very charming story. As it is, it's sweet, like a made-for-TV movie. Very clean. Trigger warning: a character is abused physically and sexually, though we only have this mentioned in passing and not in great detail. Would I read another by Jenni James? Hm... At this price, it's highly likely....more