Snowbound at Christmas
Snowbound at Christmas is a three-story anthology of sweet contemporary romances, all tied into the idea of a white Christmas and former sweethearts. Each novella is part of an existing series from each author, but they are all pretty easy to read as standalones, so no homework is necessary. I love the whole “stranded in a cabin” kind of story, so was really looking forward to this.
Close to Perfect
by Jennifer Ryan
Grade : C Sensuality : Warm
Ten years ago, Abigail Swain saved Dex from an arrest and years in prison – she only had to sacrifice most of her life to do it. After making her statement in front of Dex, his father, the sheriff of their small town, and her own father the mayor, Abby disappears from their Montana home. Now she’s back, and not only does Dex find himself still captivated by her, he now discovers he has a daughter, Kelly.
Overall, the story is cute, but the different pieces don’t really flow together all that well. There’s the second-chance romance storyline, the surprise child storyline, Abby’s background, and then finally the actual snowstorm part (which includes some surprising violence). If the story was a full-length novel, it would definitely work better, but in a novella, it just jumps from one piece to the other with no real transition between them.
The characterisation is fairly average, and Kelly, who is in the eighth grade, has conversations with her Abby that are more fit for gal pals than for mom and kid. It’s not a bad story per se, just not terribly memorable.
Hot Winter’s Night
-by Lia Riley
Grade : B- Sensuality : Warm
Goldie is “rescued” from her shop by Kitridge Kane, former sweetheart and current nemesis. Since Kit ran away and enlisted in the Marines, Goldie has absolutely despised him. Of course, that doesn’t matter much when they find themselves trapped together with Kit’s family (including his absolutely fabulous and ridiculously cranky grandmother) during what one character terms both the Snowmageddon and The Snowtorious BIG.
In addition to the rekindling romance, we also get some fun family hijinks (even if there are way too many characters to actually keep track of for someone who hasn’t read the series), a plotline about Kit’s nightmares from his time in the service, snarky texting, and characters I actually enjoyed. Again, there is a bit more built-up drama than necessary, but the story overall works really well, flows well, and is just a good read.
And I love that Goldie snores like a chain saw.
Snowed in at Copper Ridge Lodge
-by Maisey Yates
Grade : B+ Sensuality : Warm
Mia Landry has been in love with Devlin Grayson for most of her life. She is practically one of the family, having been best friends with Dev’s sister for years, and is invited each year to the Graysons’ Christmas holidays – time in a cabin in the mountains – to which she has been looking forward to for ages. This year however, Mia makes it up to the cabin, to find Dev the only other one there because the others stuck in town, trapped by the oncoming snowstorm. Which is just great. But of course, Dev has also been captivated by Mia for ages, and he’s definitely not going to let this opportunity to be with her pass him by.
Unlike the other two stories in the anthology, Mia and Dev weren’t a couple in the past – their relationship was limited to secret crushes and the like. In some ways, it works better that way when combined with the snowbound theme – the sexual tension is somehow more innocent but really hot at the same time. If that even makes sense. For example, just after they find out they are trapped, Mia and Dev fix sandwiches. Which then leads to about four or five double entendres about how sandwiches are “a fulfiller of many… needs.” My goodness. Whew!
There’s some fun banter, and both of the characters are pretty compelling, both as individuals and as a couple. Whether they are making sandwiches, playing board games, or involved in other… activities to fill their time. The humor works really well; even when things start getting hot and heavy, Dev and Mia still banter a bit. It’s adorable.
None of the stories were really an out-of-the-ballpark hit for me, but as a whole the anthology is cute and sweet and an easy read. All three stories are, in their own way, about pursuing your dreams and reconnecting with people you love. And really, isn’t that a great message for the holidays? And well worth the price for a couple hours relaxation.