Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot for the Holidays anthology

Type: Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Well, damn. First time I've ever wanted to trade places with a candy cane! Love this cover! Hot for the Holidays was chock full of new to me authors. I've read Lora Leigh before but not anything from the Breeds series that her short story was part of. Overall this is a very nice anthology with each story happening during the Christmas season. While I enjoyed Knight's and James' stories the most each of the authors' contributions were enjoyable and kept my interest. I'd pick up books by any of the authors included without a second thought.

Vampire's Ball by Angela Knight

I really enjoyed Knight's Vampire's Ball which is part of her Mageverse series. It doesn't take long to understand the world that she created revolving around King Arthur and his Knights. It can easily be read without reading the rest of the series. It's an interesting twist on the Knights and Ladies of the round table with them actually being turned into Vampires and Majae when they become the immortal protectors of mankind. 

Kat Danilo has just found out about this world and is being tested, by Vampire Ridge, to see if she has the strength to survive becoming a Maja. There was a bit of a mystery to be solved concerning a long ago murder and some difficult issues over loss and guilt touched upon. The chemistry between Ridge and Kat was both sweet and steamy with shared experiences that helped them understand one another. There was a lot happening in very few pages but it worked for me. The only thing that got me a little was how quickly Kat seemed to master her new powers once she had them. The names did have me biting back a grin from time to time with their cheesiness. Ridge Champion, Jimmy Chosen? And the alternate world of Mageverse? Oy. But still a nicely done short story that felt complete and left me interested enough to go pick up the first book in the series.

A Little Night Magic by Allyson James

I LOVED this prequel to James' Stormwalker series. After disappearing 2 years earlier and breaking her heart Jaimson returns to protect Naomi and her daughter from enemies who are out to destroy the ones he loves. This one was full of Changers, skinwalkers, pervy trickster gods, a little mystery and some good action scenes that added up to a great read. Plus I'm just a sucker for couples getting back together after being separated for years and finally getting things right the second time around. I liked Naomi, she's got some sass and spice in her. She practical and doesn't let things knock her down for too long. I loved her reactions to pretty much everything and that she wasn't afraid to let Jaimson know how pissed off she was over his leaving years earlier. Jaimson was a decent guy especially once you knew why he disappeared. He's laid back, in charge, sweet with her daughter who was deaf. Even though it doesn't look like this couple is the focus for the rest of the series I'm still interested to see where it goes from here and getting to see more of Coyote the pervy god. 

Favorite line?

 "Damn all magic-seeking, shamanistic men with gorgeous bodies and long cocks."

Sweet Enchantment by Anya Bast
For the most part I did enjoy Sweet Enchantment but it wasn't my favorite. There were some interesting parts to the Fae world Bast created with them basically imprisoned and forced to live in a certain contained area and unable to leave. I liked that little twist since usually they're portrayed as all powerful and in control. 30 years after badly ending their affair Bella Rhiannon Caliste Mac Lyr and Ronan Achaius Quinn are thrown together again, on the run to save not only his life but suddenly hers as well. Both characters were likable and it was heartbreaking to find out why things had ended so badly between them decades earlier and how much it had hurt both of them.

My big problem with the story and why I didn't like this one as much was the ending. Up until then I was really into the story and the characters. There is a happily ever after of sorts but everything concluded very abruptly. I knew the story was nearly over but when I read the last page it just didn't feel finished. Things were still too up in the air for me and I fully expected at least one more chapter before it was really over so hitting the last page was a shock. I wasn't left with a nice satisfied feeling and sure everything would work out. Not a fan of that. I did like the writing though so will be picking up a full length book of hers to see how she handles endings with one of those. Better, I hope. 

Favorite line? 
"Just remember it's an invitation to get into bed, not into me."
"I value my balls. I know better than to try anything with you right now."

A Christmas Kiss by Lora Leigh
I've read a few of Leigh's books but never one from her Breeds series, even though it's been on my buy list for ages, so I was really looking forward to this story and getting a taste of the series. I did enjoy the story but I think I would have liked it a lot more if I had read the rest of the series first. The terminology, obvious back-story that impacted the couple, and just the Breed world in general were a little hard to get past. Jessica Raines (human) and Hawke Estaban (breed) are destined mates who have been separated for the last year while Jessica was in confinement and her innocence determined after she was forced to betray the Breeds. Still following along? The story is basically the two of them coming back together and deciding if they want to cement the mate bond between them. At the same time protecting Jessica from an outside threat that's trying to eliminate her. Again I really wish I knew all of the back story on the hero and heroine. While I liked them and was glad they found their happily ever after I think I would have been more invested in them if I knew more about their history. It was still a nice little read with some spicy scenes and some very sweet and thoughtful moments. I'll be hunting down book one of the series soon. [NOTE: I've started reading the Breeds series since doing this review and am really enjoying them :) Definitely one you should read in order]

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Do you like anthologies? Or would you rather read a full length novel? Read any of these ladies? If so, what did you think of them?!

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