Thursday, November 12, 2015

What Happens Under the Mistletoe: A Christmas Anthology

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead.
In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in Twelve Kisses when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle.
In By Any Other Name, Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss.
In Sweetest Regret, will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London? In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.
Title: What Happens Under the Mistletoe | Authors: Sabrina Jefferies, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, Meredith Duran | Publisher: Pocket Books | Release Date: October 27, 2015 | Genre: Regency Romance | Source: Publisher

The Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jefferies
Rating 4
Fans of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South will delight in The Heiress and the Hothead.
A case of mistaken identity finds Lord Stephen kissing a cloaked woman under the mistletoe. The kiss causes his blood to simmer but when he, a reporter intent on exposing the cruel reality of cotton mills, discovers the woman he kissed was Amanda Keane, American cotton mill owner, his blood boils. As Amanda proves all of his preconceived notions about her wrong, Stephen finds himself falling for her.
I love it when characters surprise each other so I thoroughly enjoyed watching Amanda prove Stephen wrong. She was also a tough cookie, she wasn’t about to let Stephen get anything over on her. Stephen was very passionate about mill reform and I enjoyed watching a character with a title care about something other than society.  I loved this one, it was nearly a 5-cup read but the sex scene knocked it down to a 4. I just thought it happened at an odd and awkward time in the plot.
Twelve Kisses by Karen Hawkins
Rating: 5
Forced proximity is one of my favorite tropes. So, I loved that after a mishap under the mistletoe, and an accident caused by a horse, Marcus and Kenna are forced to take shelter in a small cabin and wait out a blizzard.
Marcus and Kenna have a past, which I loved, and things ended badly for them. He went off, ended up at war, she married someone else, and now she is a widow. They’re hurt and still angry at each other and when they find themselves in a compromising situation, it only escalates the tension between them and things only heat up when they find themselves stuck inside a cabin. Both are very stubborn and neither wants to give an inch, so it was fun watching them co-habitat and I really enjoyed watching Kenna put her foot down.
By Any Other Name, Edinburgh by Candace Camp
Rating: 3
Okay, so I struggled to finish this one. It wasn’t bad, I just couldn’t seem to get interested in the story. The plot didn’t drag, in fact, it felt as though it was so fast that I really couldn’t connect with the characters.
Determined to find her brother before Christmas, Rylla Campbell dons men’s clothing and searches Edinburgh’s gaming hells. When she’s attacked outside one of them, Gregory comes to her aid and discovers that she’s a woman. As they continue the search for her brother, they grow closer.
I liked that this one was a bit different from the norm. It kind of reminded me of Georgette Heyer’s, The Corinthian, because Rylla dresses up as a man, but it just didn’t do it for me. I was expecting a bit more and seeing that this one had Scottish characters, I was expecting a bit of the Scottish burr to be thrown in, but, sadly, it wasn’t.
Sweetest Regret by Meredith Duran
Rating: 4.5
I love second chance romances and was thrilled to see two people who obviously still loved each other get a fresh start. I also enjoyed that this had a spy type of feel to it, and I do so love those types of romances.
When Georgie is tasked by her father with finding a letter of political importance hidden among the foreign diplomats who have gathered at her father’s estate for Christmas, she never imaged that her father would send Lucas Godwin to help her with her search. The man broke her heart when he left her in Munich, now she’s forced to spend Christmas with him. Lucas may have left Georgie behind in Munich but he’s confused when she acts like he’s to blame. When the truth is revealed, he’s more than ready to resume his relationship with Georgie but she’s hesitant because she knows her father has the ability to interfere with the career Lucas painstakingly built.
Oh, I loved this one. I would have loved to have seen this as a full-length novel. Not that anything was lacking, I just would have liked to have read more about Georgie and Lucas. Even though they are at odds with each other, you can tell that they were still madly in love with each other. I also liked that Georgie finally stood up to her father.
Overall, if you’re a fan of historical romances, this one should be on your to be read list. There’s a bit of everything thrown in from serious issues to second chance romances

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