Reviews: Christmas novellas

December 19, 2013 2013, B, B+, book rating, C-, Short fiction review 2

A set of three short reviews of three Christmas novellas.

a-kiss-for-midwinterA Kiss for Midwinter
by Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister, #1.5
Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian England)
Published by Courtney Milan, 2012
E-book, Purchased
121 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time. But no matter how hard she smiles, she can’t forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation. Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him…or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He’s been in love with Lydia for more than a year. This winter, he’s determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own. It all starts with a wager and a kiss…

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the-night-before-christmasThe Night Before Christmas
by Kelly Hunter
Series: The West Family prequel novella
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published by Harlequin Kiss, 2013
E-book, Purchased
51 pages
Grade: C-
Synopsis: Hardworking and independent Jess Turner has come home from the bustle of Sydney to enjoy a quiet Christmas. But after running into an old school friend, she finds herself talked into attending a lavish Christmas Eve party—and running straight into the only man to ever break her heart.

Rebel with a heart Boyd Webber thrives on the adrenaline rush of riding motorbikes for a living, but giving into love has never been a risk worth taking. Until he sees Jess again…

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mistletoe-kisses“A Gift of Light
by Jo Beverley
Series: None
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency England)
One of three short stories in Mistletoe Kisses and Yuletide Joy, 2013 (originally published 1996 in The Christmas Cat)
E-book, Purchased
about 60 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Miss Kitty Mayhew is spending the first Christmas since her parents’ deaths quietly, but she ventures out to find the owner of a raucous tom that is keeping her awake with his caterwauling serenades to her own cat. When she encounters a half-dressed manservant she’s shaken, especially as he’s impudent and far too handsome for his own good. When she learns he’s the Earl of Felstowe hiding from Christmas revelries she knows she’s bitten off more than she can chew. But the earl is now in determined pursuit of her.

What worked for me:

  • I loved A Kiss for Midwinter. The story was emotional and the two main characters–Lydia and Jonas–were very real to me. There was humor, angst and caring in this story. I liked that the story is mainly told from Jonas’ point of view.
  • The Night Before Christmas was okay, but there really wasn’t enough of it.
  • “A Gift of Light” was a cute story. I especially enjoyed the latter part of the story and the two cats were a lot of fun. The way they matched their owners was a nice touch.

What didn’t work:

  • The Night Before Christmas suffers because it was very short. The two main characters aren’t fully fleshed out. The prequel felt like it was merely a device to briefly introduce the West family.
  • I didn’t enjoy A Gift of Light very much to begin with. Then there’s a twist in the second half of the story and I liked the rest it.

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  • Courtney Milan’s novella is a winner for me. It’s a story which could be read anytime. There isn’t too much about Christmas…though the story did talk a bit negatively about the new Christmas trees introduced by Prince Albert from Germany (as opposed to the yule log and ivy)!
  • The shortness of The Night Before Christmas made this short story unsatisfying for me. Kelly Hunter is one of my favorite Harlequin authors, but this isn’t a favorites for me.
  • “A Gift of Light” was a cute story. Jo Beverley is one of my favorite historical romance authors and though I didn’t enjoy this as much as her full length novels it was still a nice story.

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Have you read any of these stories? How did you like them?

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