Naughty or Nice

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Naughty or Nice (Ella Reynolds #2.75 (Dark Christmas))

After averaging out the stars my rating comes to 3.6 stars for the book. The stories in it are very diverse and all thankfully are about the holiday season.

‘The Santa Call’ by J.R. Rain is a bit of a weird one that I gave 3.5 stars because it is so different you can’t help but keep reading. Santa calls a radio show run by the Love Doctor who gives romantic advise. Santa calls because Mrs. Claus has left him and he needs someone to tell him how to get her back or Christmas will be ruined. I liked it but was not wowed by it.

‘Disco Angels’ by Danielle Younge-Ullman got a rating of 4 stars. Sarah is visiting her family for the holidays which means she has to put up with her less than sweet sister Meli. She loves being there but is still sad about the loss she had 2 years earlier, it has affected everything in her life. The story was good but very sad in so many ways with hopeful undertones for the season.

‘One Stormy Christmas’ by Toni LoTempio I gave 3 stars for being alright. This used characters from a book I had never read and so they were not important to me. Abraham Adams has bought a shop from his cousin and thinks that he will find something worth a lot of money. Abraham finds a box that seems to speak to him. The box somehow ends up on the shelves and is purchased by Autumn, a writer on the show “Stormy Seas”, who proceeds to let out a bit of evil into the world. It actually took me a minute to get into the story but it picked up nicely near the end.

‘Fortune Cat’s Visit’ by Heather Massey got 2 stars. This was my least favorite of all the stories in the book. It did not seem to be about anything more than a woman finding love during Chinese New Year. I did not care about the characters and therefore did not care about the story itself. They mention aliens but you never see them.

‘Real Elves’ by Helen Smith received 3 stars for being cute. Miranda is an artist who has created an enchanted forest for a department store. She just needs to have a dry run before they open it to children. Emily helps by asking her neighbor to bring his granddaughter to walk through and see how she feels about it, things do not go smoothly. This story was cute and had a feeling of magic. I actually liked the characters.

‘Carol’ by J.W. Becton gets 3 stars for a nice story. Calla Hawthorne was at a Christmas party when she was told to go pick up a revenant. It is her job to make sure that souls or the pieces of them get to where they are going, but nobody told her this was a murder victim, they are a little more trouble. The story was interesting and the characters were also interesting.

I gave ‘Krampus Klaus’ by Christiana Miller 4 stars because this story caught my imagination. Jessica and her kids find themselves in witness protection for the holidays and it is nothing like they have experienced before. Her husband is not a nice man and brought his mistress into witness protection and spends most of his time with her. The children make a find when they cannot sleep on Christmas Eve that makes their lives and their mothers better. I loved the ending to this it was just what I would have wanted.

This I gave 5 stars because I like a good mystery just like our heroine, ‘Dark Christmas’ by Liz Schulte. Ella is a recluse with good reason, her husband was murdered in their home and she was the prime suspect. Now however she lives with one of the detectives in the town and writes true crime novels, one about her own experiences and the town. There seems to be something more going on when a dead body is found on her front porch during a holiday party. I think this one was excellent and had me on the edge of my seat.

‘Santa Stole My Ghoulfriend’ by Rose Pressey gets 4 stars because I already liked the character. Larue Donavan sees ghosts and speaks with them because they seek her out for help. A ghost shows up and asks for help in bringing the Christmas spirit to a new arrival in town. Deanna Snow hates Christmas and does not decorate her shop like everyone else. This was a bit short and did not build like it could have but still gave me a smile.

This was a long tale and I gave ‘The Perfect Gift’ by Barbra Annino 4.5 stars. Dane Caulfield finds the perfect gift for his wife in an antique shop but believes he has left it at his place of business. On Christmas Eve the gift is found by his wife and he does not want her to open it because it could bring back bad memories. Julia starts to act strange after opening the gift and Dane begins to think she may not be the wife he needs. But more is happening than either of them are aware of. This was a mystery with a subtle paranormal element. Definitely worth reading.

Some of the stories are good some are bland but all have something interesting to tie it to Christmas.

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I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

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I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas (Half-Moon Hollow #2.7)

by Molly Harper (Author), Amanda Ronconi (Narrator)
I am always happy to take a trip to Half Moon Hollow and get a chance to visit with my favorite vampires. Amanda Ronconi does a fabulous job of bringing the denizens of this small southern city to life whether they be male or female. The story is always good and entertaining so that you can find something interesting even in such a short story as this. These are not all characters that I know very well because they are from another set of novels but Jane and friends are present since it is set in the same town.

Gigi Scanlon is coming home from college for the holidays for the first time since her older sister has been turned. Her sister Iris is afraid that she will not be able to control her blood-lust and so has as many vampires as possible on hand. Jane along with her husband Gabriel as well as Dick Cheney and Andrea are on hand for the festivities that Iris has planned to make her sisters Christmas as human friendly as possible.

But Gigi has a lot on her mind because she has been offered a job by the vampire council, she wants to break up with her safe boyfriend, and it seems she is being followed by a very handsome vampire. Any of these things could be a problem but having to tell her sister and over protective father figure is not something she wants to deal with. But the season has a way of making things go better.

As usual a fun read that had me laughing out loud at the antics of these characters. Make sure to hit the last chapter because you will find recipes for some sweet treats of the season. Highly recommend!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A White Hot Christmas

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A White Hot Christmas

This was a story that surprised me once I got started reading. I did not jump into it but kind of eased in and found myself liking the characters for being normal, more or less. There was not an instant love connection it took them a few weeks to think they might be in love. There were some problems with things like word usage and some missing information, but nothing that was so bad it took away from the story itself. The characters were complex enough to keep you interested in them and willing to commit to what was going on.

Noel Jamison is a painter who travels the world painting landscapes for clients willing to send her to exotic locations. But the one thing she does to keep her grounded is return home for the holidays each year for an extended stay. On Thanksgiving day her Uncle plans on frying the turkey but decides to so it inside the garage, a fire ensues. Dean Evans is a fire fighter who has recently been transferred to the Mistletoe fire department because of a tragedy in his past that makes it hard for him to work in a larger city. While Noel loves the holidays Dean dislikes them but they both want to avoid relationships at any cost.

Nice tone with just the right bit of heat and holiday spirit. It has a sweet quality while it maintains a bit of edge for those who want a little spice. I think it is a really good holiday story for anyone.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Noel smiled brightly at her second family. They all smiled back. Except new guy. Noel’s smile quickly fell. “I’m sorry, we haven’t met. My name’s Noel.” She stepped forward and held her hand out to the man. She was trying and he just stood there and glared at her with his beautiful blue eyes. Damn those eyes. “Nothing about this is something to smile about, Noel. That group over there laughing? Would they be laughing if this fire jumped to the neighbor’s house? Or their own?” He shook his head and walked away from her. Noel stood, rooted in her spot, dumbfounded. He was intense. And kind of an asshole.

Hot For Santa

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Hot for Santa (Hot in the City #5)

I would be hot for Santa too if he was sporting what this one is. This is short but has two characters that I liked and was more than happy to see get a little Merry in their Christmas. There was a limited story line that let you know why and how the couple came to be where they were.  I am always happy with the writing in these stories. I was drawn in and did not stop until it was finished, it ended much to soon because I wanted more on these two.

Amy Finnegan is working as an elf along with her friend Cole Bradshaw who is portraying Santa Claus. Cole is one very sexy Santa and Amy has been fantasizing about him for a month. She was glad when he asked her to do this for charity and has been hoping that something might come of it, but so far nothing. Here it is the last day and she has lost all hope of getting him to notice how she feels. When he invites her over for Christmas Eve to drink eggnog and watch a movie she at first thinks he may be thawing, but then decides not to get her hopes up. What he has in mind will make for a very Merry Christmas for them both.

This was very hot with light Dom/sub play. I say read this if you want a hot Christmas and some gift ideas. 🙂

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“It’s open. Come on in.” Amy sighed. He couldn’t even be bothered to answer the door? It solidified her theory that he saw her only as a friend—a very casual, mi casa es su casa kind of friend. Reaching for the knob, she eased the door inward, surprised to find the lighting so dim when she stepped inside. The first thing she spotted was the fire blazing in the small hearth in his living room—a toasty welcome from the typical Chicago winter dropping snow on the suburbs outside. The second thing she noticed was Cole sprawling comfortably in an easy chair. Wearing nothing but his Santa hat. Amy sucked in her breath, felt dizzy. What the hell…?

A Very Shitake Christmas

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A Very Shitake Christmas (Shitake Mystery #1.5)

This was short but pulled me in immediately and had me like the characters and ready to follow them. I always like a book with a strong female character and Mo is definitely strong in her own way. The setting is contemporary and makes it perfect. The language is what you would expect with little quirks to keep it interesting from both the Brits and Americans. The relationships are very real and do not seem forced or rushed but built from the bottom up.

Imogene ‘Mo’ Tuttle had worked as a private detective until she met Ross Grant and would have been fired for trying to protect him. They have since moved in together and she is still out of work while he has been cast in one new movie with another to start after filming ends on this one. To really make things interesting Ross’s father Bertram contacts Mo and tells her he will be coming for Christmas, she of course assumes she has 6 months to prepare, but he celebrates the historical Christmas in June.

Mo gets a cal from her old boss wanting to hire her back, but Mo is not interested in going back full time but is willing to take work as an independent contractor. Her first job is to serve a restraining order on a man who is very good at eluding them. When she gets to close to things he takes revenge in a novel way.

This was a fun read without any big mystery or anything but characters who had plenty of personality. After reading this I have to read the first book in the series since this was 1.5 and find out how things got started.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Moonfire Christmas

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A Moonfire Christmas (Moonfire Saga)

I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination but I would like to have some idea of what the story is when I read a book. This one started with a sex scene that was not majorly graphic but took me by surprise since I had no idea who the characters were. Other than the fact that it was set at Christmas I don’t see what the point was. I did not get any insight into who the characters were, except to each other, and  I really could have cared less. They hinted at something more with a character and then never followed up on it. The sex was even less than stellar when it seemed to be the main focus.

Jonathon has found his new mate, Tyler, and he is very happy. It is Christmas and Tyler wants to do something special for Jon to show him how much he loves him.

Be aware that this is an m/m story line. Not for everyone, but some may like this even without a plot.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Silver Bells

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Silver Bells

This was a sweet story with an interesting take on Santa and who and what his reindeer are. It was hard for me to get into the story which was not very short. The character were just dropped in without any real introduction as to who they were. It was hard to have any feeling for either of the characters even though you knew you should because this was going to be a sentimental tale. Once you get past the rather lackluster beginning the story moves a lot more quickly.

Dash Bartholomew lives and works on the south side of Howle, a less than desirable area. He keeps the carousel animals looking good for the summer season through the winter. He has a harness with silver bells attached that he can no longer hear. Merry is a homeless woman who ducks into the barn he works in to get out of the cold and wind. She is a proud woman who will not accept charity but is willing to work and help Dash with the animals. She can hear the bells and finds the sound sweet and comforting because she heard similar ones when she was a child. These two people have more in common than they know.

There were a lot of short cuts taken, I have no idea when they were supposed to have fallen in love because there was nothing to indicate it had happened. Like I said, a sweet story but not very filling.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars