Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Heart of Christmas Anthology!

Type: Historical Romance, England
Heat: 2 out of 5 Just a tiny bit of steam
Rating: 3 out of 5

Isn't that just a gorgeous cover? I'm not sure how this one ended up at my house but what a nice surprise. I'd never read any of the authors included and think I've found two new ones I'll be reading a good deal more of in the near future. Balogh and Cornick had me humming Christmas tunes with a smile on my face and very much in the mood for Christmas. Great holiday reads that were fun and sweet. Then there was Milan. [did you so just hear the dum.dum...dum bit there?] I know a lot of people LOVED her contribution but it had me wishing my iced tea was spiked. Two out of three's not bad though. Not bad at all.

A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh
Facing an arranged marriage, dashing and wealthy Julian decides to celebrate his last weeks of freedom the only way a rake knows how...a Christmas fling with the woman of his choice. In desperate financial straits opera singer Verity quickly agrees to be his Mistress for the week. Little do they know what surprises await them both...

This one was my favorite of the bunch. The scandalous proposition, the characters, the  humor and surprises along the way and the overwhelming Christmas spirit. It was all very nicely done even if bits were almost too sweet. Julian was the perfect mix of bored/hard edges and a good natured sport and Verity was an absolute force of nature with an infectious personality. All Julian wanted was a quiet week away with no Christmas fanfare and lots of time spent in a nice warm bed. And oh how the best laid plans just never go quite as expected. From surprise guests because of a storm to finding out Verity wasn't quite what she seemed. I loved all the twists and turns, how Verity got everyone involved in celebrating the holiday and decorating, the romance that developed between Julian and Verity (and I just love that name). It was just a fun little read.

The Season For Suitors by Nicola Cornick
After some close encounters with rakes in which she was nearly compromised, heiress Clara Davenport realizes that she needs some expert advice. And who better for the job than Sebastian Fleet, the most notorious rake in town? But the tutelage doesn't go quite as planned, as both Sebastian and Clara find it difficult to remain objective when it comes to lessons of the heart!

Ah one of my favorite storylines. I love characters with a bit of history and Clara and Sebastian definitely have that going on. Afterall she did propose to him years earlier! Clara was sassy, determined, innocent and oh so in love with Sebastian despite her attempts to forget the blasted rake who'd turned her down. I really liked Sebastian too. He could be a jerk pushing her away but under it all he's terrified of having someone depend on him and doesn't think he's good enough. He breaks your heart a little with what he's gone though in the past and how it affects him now. Still there was a good bit of humor and I loved the use of secondary characters. Was just a sweet read and a great enemy's to lovers story. 
"Congratulations?" Martin's expression was like boiling milk. "Congratulations? I will not permit my sister to marry such a rogue."
"Martin, darling." Juliana said, putting a gentle hand on her husband's arm, "I completely understand your misgivings but I do think we should consider the matter calmly."
"Calmly!" Martin spun around. "I am not calm!"
"I think we all realize that, dearest," Juliana said. 
This Wicked Gift by Courtney Milan
Lavinia Spencer has been saving her hard-earned pennies to provide her family with Christmas dinner. Days before the holiday, her brother is swindled, leaving them owing more than they can ever repay. Until a mysterious benefactor offers to settle the debt. Innocent Lavinia is stunned by what the dashing William White wants in return. Will she exchange a wicked gift for her family's fortune?

Holy crap was this one freaking depressing. Damn.  I'll give Milan points for going outside the norm and doing things a little different with her hero/heroine being in the working class and struggling financially. You really don't see that too often in historical romances. Lavinia and William both have hard lives and they LOVE to focus on all their hardships and struggles. I'm all for a brooding hero/ine but damn they need some other qualities that make them endearing and leave you wanting to root for them. Never got there with these two. There was too much woe is me, I'm not good enough moping about. And despite what the blurb said Lavinia so wasn't stunned by William's demands on her. That girl dropped skirt so damn quick in exchange for a 10 pound debt being canceled it wasn't even funny. Nope. Sorry. Didn't work for me at all. 

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Have you ever read a novella/book where nearly everyone raved about it and you had the exact opposite reaction? 


  1. Hey Anne, I just saw you comment on my blog about Erin's book. She is a super sweet gal that I have gotten to know through twitter. Anyways, I haven't read a book or novella that everyone loved and I went hmm. However, movies I have.

    1. Very neat :) Oh I've got some movies on the list too!


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