Blogmas #7 | Christmas Anthology Review: All I Want For Christmas Is You
Authors: Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, Samantha Young, Aurora Rose Reynolds, Lani Lynn Vale, T.L. Swan, Natasha Madison.
Length: 479 pages.
Trigger Warnings: death of a loved one, car accident.
My General Thoughts.
I don’t usually read anthologies because they’re not the type of dynamic that I tend to enjoy. But because it is Christmas centered, I decided to give it a shot and I was pleasantly surprised. This definitely helped get into the Christmas spirit and, as a romance lover, I had a great time reading about every single one of these characters. Although not every story was amazing or blew me away, the majority were entertaining and properly developed. If you’re looking for a fun way to pass the time, with cute, endearing, and cozy stories, I definitely recommend this.
If you want to know more, continue reading for my individual review of each story.
Lights Out Love
Authors: Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward.
Trigger Warnings: death of a loved one.
Gee, a nutcracker for the woman who likes to bust my balls. How appropriate.
Cole is utterly annoyed by his neighbor Josie’s obnoxious Christmas display. When she blows out power on the street, he marches over and lets her know what he thinks of the mess she’s made. But when the only generator in town brings the two nemeses together… the Christmas display isn’t the only thing burning bright.
I love this author duo. I’ve read many of their books and almost every single one has blown me away. This story was definitely simple, but they got away with it, because it’s supposed to be a sweet, short romance story to put us in the Christmas spirit, which it did. I think this is probably the most Christmas centered story of the anthology. My sole complain would be that the romance happened a tad too fast. But, in all honesty, it didn’t bother me because it can be quite difficult to manage that in such a limited amount of time. Regardless, it was fun and very cute. Definitely recommend it.
The Forbidden Christmas Gift
Author: Samantha Young.
Trigger Warnings: none.
I think the right person is someone who makes you vibrate with awareness.
It’s Christmas at Shaw’s Department store in Edinburgh! Reid Shaw should feel nothing but gratified by his success. But he’s not satisfied because the sexy Scot wants forbidden fruit for Christmas: Evan Munro. Reid’s Evan’s boss. He’s thirteen years older than her. Oh… and she’s his best friend’s little sister.
Samantha Young is making her way to my list of favorite romance authors. The Forbidden Christmas Gift is, without a doubt, my second favorite story from the anthology. I really liked how the relationship between Evan and Reid was established. We started off in the present, but that’s not where the story begins. The author used retrospective to take us back to the beginning so that we could see the buildup and how they got to where they are now. That was fantastic, a very smart choice particularly because this is a short story, so it is difficult to create a believable relationship within the characters. By explaining how Evan and Reid met and how they fell in love with time definitely allows me to root for them even more. My main issue with this story was the ending. It was going so well, and then the ending was bit too Happily Ever After. There was nothing wrong with it, just a little rushed.
Also, can I just say that that mini cameo with Belle (Jo and Cam’s daughter from the On Dublin Street series) made me absurdly happy.
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds.
Trigger Warnings: none.
Yes, there is definitely such thing as Christmas magic.
A broken down truck, twelve Christmas trees, and a little holiday magic help, Milly Hendricks and Tyler Speeds find their happily ever after.
I don’t have much to say about Christmas Magic. I think that Aurora Rose Reynolds is the type of author that you either love or hate. I love her. This was a short, cute story that entertained me for a while. I really liked the main characters and the plot. Milly’s kindness and compassion definitely showed and the emphasis the story had on the true spirit and meaning of Christmas was endearing and refreshing. As opposed to most of Reynolds’ books, this wasn’t an Insta-love story, which surprised me a lot, but I’m really glad we got to see a new side of this author. Lately she has started to be more adventurous in her writing and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
Ho Ho Holy Hotness
Author: Lani Lynn Vale.
Trigger Warnings: none.
I was a thirty-five-year-old man. I was an emergency room doctor. I was six-foot-three, could deadlift five hundred pounds, and I could run circles around every single person at my CrossFit gym.AKA a character in Grey’s Anatomy.
Ho ho holy hotness—those were the first words out of Nola’s mouth the first time she saw Soren walk up the length of her driveway. Soren the delivery guy who also happened to be an emergency room doctor, have abs of steel, and delivered a mean package. She knew he was the one from the moment that he gave her his candy cane.
I don’t even know what to say about this. It started off AMAZING. The dynamic between our main characters was wonderful–the whole deliver guy and customer thing–, their chemistry was off the charts, and the scenes at the gym were brilliantly written and thought out. And then… I don’t know what happened. It turned as cheesy as a four cheese pizza. WTH??? I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it was very unexpected. Everything felt incredibly rushed, the relationship was underdeveloped, and there were so many cliché scenes. I want to give it 3 stars, but the beginning was so good that I want to give it 3.5. I’ll compromise with about 3.2 stars.
Author: T.L. Swan.
Trigger Warnings: car accident.
Thank God, civilization.
Holly’s, having a bad day. A missed plane, an unexpected road trip and the storm of all storms. When a mountain man comes to her rescue, taking refuge in his cabin is her only choice. Into the wild just took on a whole new meaning.
Without a doubt my favorite story from this anthology. It’s sweet, real, and I could actually feel the connection between the characters. I personally loved the city girl/country boy trope, especially because it wasn’t overdone, and their meet-cute was more clever than cute (which is a good thing). Jack is absolutely hilarious with his I-don’t-give-a-sh*t attitude, but then he was also sweet and considerate. The ending filled my heart with warmth and happiness. I’m very intrigued by this author and I can’t wait to read more of her books.
Author: Natasha Madison.
Trigger Warnings: none.
The sound of Christmas bells is heard far away.
Writing my boss a Christmas letter declaring my love for him was not my finest moment. Neither was accidentally mixing it with his files before handing it to him. Now I have to sneak back into his office at night to get it back. What can go wrong?
This story was short and sweet… That’s it. I don’t have any real complains about it–I really liked the romance and how it unfolded, the dialogue was clever and fun, and the characters felt realistic–, but nothing actually happened. I feel like this was just the last chapter of a book, so I was out of the loop (though not completely clueless). If the author had added bit more depth to it or given a little more context on the situation, it could’ve easily been a 4 or 5 star story. Again, it’s not bad, but too underdeveloped and it didn’t mesh that with the other stories in the anthology.