Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Christmas To Remember by Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon, Marilyn Pappano, Kristen Ashley, Jill Shalvis

The Basics:
A Christmas To Remember by Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon, Marilyn Pappano, Kristen Ashley, Jill Shalvis
Forever Yours
Published December 3, 2013

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Curl up with this heartwarming Christmas collection!

Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, 'tis the season for giving love a chance . . . 

Kristen Ashley, Every Year: Holidays don't come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . . 

Hope Ramsay, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger. 

Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who's set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . . 

Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn't mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?

Plus: Excerpts from upcoming novels!

Why I picked up this book:

I was hoping for a collection of short, sweet romances set around the Christmas holidays.

My thoughts:

So I didn't quite get what I was hoping for - this is a collection of five new short stories and five excerpts from upcoming novels by each author. This is clearly stated in the blurb so I have no one to blame but myself for failing to realize this.

Now, normally, I avoid excerpts because they're almost like an insta-buy for me - once I've engaged with a story, I have to see it through! (Unless I really, really dislike it...).  

But because I wanted to be fair, I read them all. And I've already forgotten some of them, unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet!). A couple did make an impact though - Kristen Ashley's excerpt is actually the love story that leads into the short story included in the collection.

So a pet peeve of mine or a quirk or whatever - does anyone else not want to go back and read about how a couple came together once they've already read about the couple being a couple? Does that make sense?  If I pick up a book in the middle of the series, whichever couples are already paired off in that book, I never go back to re-read their stories. I've already seen them together, so it's... almost as though I've been spoiled? Except, of course, we all know what the end of a romance novel should result in, so have I really been spoiled beyond normal genre expectations?  Anyways, it's one of my eccentricities, I guess, that I very rarely go backwards. So though I did like the short story from Ashley, and I do want to read *Landon's* story, and I am a little curious about what happened between Tabby and Shy... Okay, I'll admit, I may end up picking this one up - though Tabby's use of the phrase "the bomb" really drove me crazy.

The other excerpt that stuck out for me was from Marilyn Pappano and finished off the series. It ends on a really low note, and while I'm sure in the book it is from, it's a great first chapter, it was a really poor way to end a Christmas collection. I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, and a lot of pity for the heroine in the last book.

The Bottom Line:

Overall, the short stories in this collection were a mixed bag. I liked "Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas" and "Dream a Little Dream" the most. I wasn't really wowed by anything in this collection. Not all of the excerpts were Christmas themed, and as I said above, the last one ends on a really low note. I wasn't left with that feel-good romance feeling nor with a boost to my Christmas spirit.

If you're looking for a sampler of upcoming books, this might be a good choice. You get a chance to see how these authors handle the short format and then a peek at a longer work. But if you're hoping for a Christmas collection, I don't think you'll be satisfied with this.

2.5 stars
For fans of any of these five authors, contemporary romance, teasers for upcoming novels.

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