Expected Publication Date: December 15, 2013
Authors: Annabelle Blume, Lily Carlyle, Shaya Roy, Michelle Ziegler, Terri Rochenski
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Maven
Heat Level - 2 Flames – Warm
4.5 Stars – Recommended Read
An Unexpected Wreath, written by Annabelle Blume, was a tale about a woman, who for the first time, in a long time, was on her own and single at Christmas. After purchasing a
Christmas tree, and struggling to get it to her car, the Christmas tree lot owner offers to deliver it to her house. There is an instant attraction to him, yet the heroine is a bit unsure if she should pursue that attraction.
The characters of Stella, her twin sister, and her little niece made me smile, and I loved the shopping trip they all took to buy Stella some new Christmas decorations. There isn’t a whole lot of interaction between the heroine, Stella, and the hero, Grayson since this story is basically outlining the beginnings of a possible relationship, but it was cute, sweet, written with vivid imagery, and overall a fun short story that ends with a kiss.
The next story in the anthology is Santa Bebe by Lily Carlyle. This is a short story about a somewhat brassy gal, Bebe, who witnessed her mother in and out of a string of bad relationships. She doesn’t want to be like her mother, but she fears she’s more like her mother than she wishes to be. From her bleach blonde hair to her sexy clothes, she’s
used her looks to her advantage, but dislikes the negative male attention it affords her. Placing money as the first priority for a relationship, she’s going about things all wrong, and part of her knows it.
Bebe is a rather jaded character, but her one and only close male friend keeps her somewhat grounded, or at least tries to. He always listens to her complain about hating her job, and hating men, and seems to be the one constant male companion in her life, yet she hasn’t really “seen” James as more than a decent, nerdy guy who happens to be her
This story takes on an interesting twist between Bebe and James, that I won’t give away, but Bebe, the man hater, just might have the type of man she really needs in James. I only wish there was a little more to the story to show more redeeming qualities of the heroine.
In Melt by Shaya Roy I was introduced to a couple who met due to a family arrangement and was quickly married. Six months into their marriage, they are strangers to each other, and that unknown newness of bringing two individuals together as a couple plays a
major part in the story.
The heroine, Naina, is over the moon attracted to her brooding, quiet husband, and believes he doesn’t really like her, or finds her desirable. And the fact she can’t get a “rise” out of him drives her crazy.
Dev is stand offish, and buries himself in his work, but what his new wife doesn’t know, is that he feels as if she’s too good for him. She’s the one living in Technicolor, and he’s boring black and white who will drag her down. He hides his true feelings from her, mainly out of fear of actually loosing the person he fell in love with.
This story had an interesting flow, and the author did a great job of conveying the longing and misunderstandings between Naina and Dev, so much so, I wanted to take each of them aside and shake them for what they were both doing to each other. With all the wrong assumptions running amuck, I was glad to finally see some much needed communication between the two, which gave the story a happy ending, or perhaps I should say a happy beginning.
Angela has been on one horrible date after another. In fact, her dates are so epically bad she has her best friend, Rebecca, on alert, because more than likely she will need to come pick Angela up.
One in a Million Snowflakes by Michelle Ziegler is a story about one woman’s quest to find the right guy, or in Angela’s case, at least an acceptable guy who isn’t a creep. But no man can really measure up to her best friend’s brother.
I really liked how Angela and Nick were re-connected after many years apart. Their meeting made me chuckle, and it was an original way to bring the heroine and hero together.
I was touched while reading, Beginning of Forever by Terri Rochenski. It is a story of a woman who wakes to the worst phone call a person can get. “There’s been an accident.”
Ms. Rochenski paints a heart wrenching picture of loss and the power of love found, done in an unconventional way within the setting of a bygone era. While reading it, it was like stepping back in time. The sights and sounds bounced off the page, giving me the full picture of period details that made this story one of my favorites.
Winter’s Sweet Kiss is what the book proclaims to be. A sweet romance anthology. There are no quivering or undulating body parts, or detailed sexual scenes, so don’t expect that kind of action. What you can expect is five winter themed short stories, with budding romance, a few tearful moments, and moments that will make you smile.
Special mention to Annabelle Blume for making me laugh out loud, and who’s story kept me smiling, and Terri Rochenski for writing something that touched my heart and took me back in time.