An Inconvenient Mate by Lora Leigh

Overview
Tied With a Bow

Title: An Inconvenient Mate
Author: Lora Leigh
Series: Breeds #17.5
In: Tied with a Bow (Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks & Kimberly Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, EroticaParanormal romance, Shapeshifters
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Sometimes, to protect others you love, you have no choice but to put on a brave face and hide your horror or your pain to ensure the protection of others.

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Synopsis

Isabelle Martinez was instantly fascinated by the sexy Coyote Breed she met at the bar, but her sensual flirtation with him was cut short when she saw the man who’d attacked her arrive at the bar.

Breed enforcer Malachi Morgan was entranced by Isabelle’s mix of shyness and boldness, and he was determined to chase and play with his sensual prey. But he could tell she’d been hurt before by a man, and he vowed that Isabelle was now his to protect and love, even as if it meant going against her family and his orders.

Thoughts

I always find the Breeds stories a little bit intense. I mean, Leigh is a master of erotic penmanship. But then, every time I read a novella in this series, I can’t help but race to pick up the next book in the series and get myself all hot and bothered again. There is just something… incomparable to this series. And An Inconvenient Mate is no different.

This was my first introduction to the Coyote Breeds. I’m completely intrigued, and can’t wait to get into Soul Deep, the first novel in the series which focuses on the Coyote Breeds. I love how they are formulated and created in this world. It is very different to all of the shapeshifter lore I have sunk my own literary teeth into.

Ultimately, this was a fantastic, wonderful story. One that I will probably reread when I get up to that point in the series. It is wonderfully lustful, and yet kind of sweet. There is something about the idea of a perfect mate that makes me smile. I didn’t really get a Christmassy vibe from this. But I did most definitely get one of love.

<- Human ErrorTied with a Bow ->

Image source: Amazon

The Nutcracker Sweet by Nancy Warren

Overview
Image result for jingle bell rockbook cover

Title: The Nutcracker Sweet
Author: Nancy Warren
In: Jingle Bell Rock (Lori Foster, Janelle Denison, Susan Donovan, Donna Kauffman, Alison Kent & Nancy Warren)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: He stomped two steps to her door and turned back as though an invisible rope had yanked him.

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Synopsis

Co-workers Daniel and Tara couldn’t hate each other more. So when they end up as Secret Santa partners, it’s a perfect chance for revenge and a dare that just may ignite the steamiest night of their lives…

Thoughts

This was cute, fun and quirky. The kind of novella that was very quick and easily read. And left me smiling. But not necessarily one that I would read again and again and again. After all, it’s just an easy read. Not one that is earth-shatteringly amazing.

I loved the feeling of sexual tension throughout this whole story. Daniel and Tara have sparks flying from the very beginning. My favourite thing to do is argue with my partner on a frequent basis and know that I have one person in my life that I don’t have to hold back on. That definitely seems to be the case with this couple. And combine that with the lust and sexuality of the story? Wow, it worked… a little too well.

Tara as a “nutcracker” / ball buster made me very, very happy. I always love stories that feature a strong, independent woman. One who is unafraid to lay it all out there and take everyone on. The fact that she continues to be this way, even after she realises she loves Daniel… most definitely the kind of woman that I like to feature in my romances.

<- A Blue ChristmasJingle Bell Rock ->

Image source: Goodreads

Seducing Scrooge by Katherine Garbera

Overview
The Night Before Christmas by Lori Foster

Title: Seducing Scrooge
Author: Katherine Garbera
In: The Night Before Christmas (Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, Kathy Love, Jill Shalvis, Kylie Adams & Katherine Garbera)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: “Not anymore than I do Santa Claus.”

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Synopsis

It’s Christmas Eve, and workaholic Jackson Peters is annoyed that his staff has left early. Only Krista Miller is still there, but from the look on her face, she doesn’t seem to have work on her mind…

Thoughts

This story was alright. I would probably read it again next Christmas, but that has more to do with the fact that it’s kind of eh and forgettable than the fact that I would actually look forward to it. There was just something… not quite as awesome about this novella. Particularly when compared to some of the other Christmas novellas I’ve read this season.

That being said, I did still enjoy this story. I like the idea of trying to get someone to be excited about the Christmas period. I mean, after all, it’s what I tend to do with my partner every year. The fact that it thus far hasn’t happened in real life but did happen in the novella may be a reason why I feel a bit “eh” about this story. It sucks when a literary character can do something that you’ve been trying to do for years.

All in all, this was a fun contemporary romance. It was enjoyable and cute. With just enough sass to make it interesting. A nice, easy read for the insanity of the Festive Season.

<- I’ll Be Home for ChristmasThe Good Girl’s Guide to a Very Bad Christmas ->

Image source: Goodreads

Human Error by Eileen Wilks

Overview
Tied With a Bow

Title: Human Error
Author: Eileen Wilks
Series: World of the Lupi #8.5
In: Tied with a Bow (Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks & Kimberly Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Animagus, Christmas, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: That is not the same thing as can’t.

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Synopsis

Benedict is finally meeting the family of his life mate. All he wants is to make a good impression over Yule. But things most definitely don’t go as planned.

Thoughts

I’ve read this a touch early in my read through of the World of the Lupi series. But, considering I read this around Christmas, I am most definitely glad that I did start it kind of early. There was something about the idea of a Yule celebration, family and all sorts of typical mayhem breaking free that made me absolutely inhale this story. It was great, fun and had just the right amount of lust and sweetness to leave me feeling happy and content.

Reading this early means that it has been revealed a little earlier than I would like that Benedict finds himself a Life Mate. But, I love them both anyway, so I look forward to how this actually happens in either Blood Challenge or Death Magic. I know how nerve wracking it can be to bring someone home, hope that he’ll be accepted and wanted. The fact that the stakes are higher for these two, and Benedict is trying so damn hard to fit in… well, it made me love all of this all that much more.

The blend of Wicca, Christmas and Native American mythology was surprising. In the best way possible. I love when there is a blend of mythologies in a story that I didn’t quite expect but find that I seriously enjoy. This definitely did that for me. It also made me feel like picking up Blood Challenge as soon as feasible… although I swore I would try not to have a huge pile of unread books next to me at the turn of the year…

First Light by Kimberly Frost<- First LightAn Inconvenient Mate ->

Image source: Amazon

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Kathy Love

Overview
The Night Before Christmas by Lori Foster

Title: I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Author: Kathy Love
In: The Night Before Christmas (Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, Kathy Love, Jill Shalvis, Kylie Adams & Katherine Garbera)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: But he just nodded and bowed his tall frame into the small waters, wincing.

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Synopsis

Seven years ago, Rob Marsten chose work over the love of his life, Erica. Now, a snowstorm and a car rental mix-up leads to a reunion, and this time, Rob will show Erica exactly how much he wants her…

Thoughts

This has a very simple, easy going Meet Cute feeling to it. Alright, it’s not quite a Meet Cute, since this isn’t the first time that the two leads have actually met. But it still has that seriously wonderful RomCom feel to it. The kind that you just absorb in the Festive Season… because I’m not really sure why.

I must admit, that although he does eventually grow on me, Rob is not my favourite character in the world. He’s honestly kind of a dick. And, although he admits his failings and the ways in which he’s a dickhead, he still doesn’t make me feel all that endearingly towards him. There is just something… not my favourite about him. And therefore a little bit about Erica, because she takes the fool back.

These two may not be my favourite holiday couple of the year, but they do work together. And I did seriously like this story, just not enough to rant and rave about its awesomeness. But that’s alright, because I would still read it again.

<- Ms. HumbugSeducing Scrooge ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Tale of Two Sisters by Julia Quinn

Overview
Where's My Hero? | Julia Quinn | Author of Historical Romance Novels

Title: A Tale of Two Sisters
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: The Splendid Trilogy #3.5
In: Where’s My Hero? (Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn & Kinley MacGregor)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: “Do you want to dance?” he asked, the words surprising him even as they left his lips.

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Synopsis

Dashing Ned Blydon is in a most unenviable predicament—he’s engaged to one Thornton sister, while being secretly in love with the other—in Julia Quinn’s sensuous A Tale of Two Sisters .

Thoughts

From reading the blurb for this story, I was feeling a little bit… icky. I mean, it’s a man who is engaged to one sister, and in love with another. I always have issues with those kind of horrible, blurred lines. I mean, I can’t imagine my sister taking the man that I’m involved with… but as usual Quinn took me completely by surprise and spun this story in a way that just wasn’t… icky.

Ned was a fun hero. He spends half the time trying to escape his female relatives because they’re giving him unsolicited advice. And then, when he finally does find out that they are right, he still refuses to acknowledge it out loud. I recognise a lot of this in my own activities. I am the queen of denial and tend to avoid my family when I think they won’t like my own activities. This factor probably made me connect with him a lot quicker than many other heroes who fill the pages of my books.

This storyline was fun, light-hearted, and brilliant. It finished out the Where’s My Hero? collection completely beautifully. No matter how many times I pick up a story by Quinn, I’m completely in love. And then I always have to try and find another one of her books to sink my teeth into…

<- Midsummer’s KnightWhere’s My Hero? ->

Image source: Juila Quinn

A Blue Christmas by Alison Kent

Overview
Image result for jingle bell rockbook cover

Title: A Blue Christmas
Author: Alison Kent
In: Jingle Bell Rock (Lori Foster, Janelle Denison, Susan Donovan, Donna Kauffman, Alison Kent & Nancy Warren)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: She knew he’d heard her join him, but he didn’t even look around when she made her request.

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Synopsis

Thomas “Blue” Miller never expected to see Jessie Buchanan on his Christmas Tree farm again. But now that she’s here, he’s ready to show her exactly what she’s been missing…

Thoughts

Reuniting with lost love ones seems to be a bit of a theme throughout the Christmas novellas I read for 2020. And this novella was no exception. You knew that the two would end up together by the end but discovering the whys and how’s of their past. And how they are going to get over the bitterness of rejection… again, that was just a little bit different.

Whilst I’m enjoying pretty much all of the Christmas novellas I’ve been browsing over lately. I did prefer the personalities of Blue and Jessie a little more. Mostly because Jessie is an incredibly go-getter, one that had me smiling and laughing throughout. There is something wonderful about a woman who is unafraid to go for what she wants. Even if she knows she’ll probably regret it in the future.

The thing about this novella that I love the most is that it drives home the fact that you really shouldn’t let go of the people you love. Alright, there’s a happy ending in spite of the fact in this, but I always find it tragic that the leads have gone 10 years without one another. That just feels like such wasted time, something I’m just not willing to risk.

<- Baby, It’s Cold OutsideThe Nutcracker Sweet ->

Image source: Goodreads

Home for the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost

Overview
The Bite Before Christmas Large Print :HarperCollins Australia

Title: Home for the Holidays
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Huntress #6.5, Night Huntress Universe #8.5
In: The Bite Before Christmas (Lynsay Sands & Jeaniene Frost)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Paranormal fantasy, Strong women, Urban fantasy, Vampires
Dates read: 26th December 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: By the time he’d crossed the room to Denise, her eyes were wide and staring into nothing, all without Ian even needing to speak.

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Synopsis

Cat and Bones were looking forward to a normal holiday – at least as “normal” as it gets for vampires and their otherworldly friends and family. But their yuletide plans are shattered when a mysterious stranger shows up and reveals long-buried secrets that threaten to take a bite out of their holiday cheer – and lives.

Thoughts

I felt seriously, truly and deeply bad for Bones in this novella. After all, finding family after 200 years and then losing them would be incredibly difficult. Around the holidays and when you just don’t expect it… yeah, that would be seriously difficult and heart wrenching.

Cat and Bones may be two of my favourite urban fantasy characters. They are an amazing couple. One that is quirky and fun. And most definitely loyal. The crap that Cat goes through throughout this story to make sure that Bones is safe is extraordinary. I was both incredibly proud of, and kind of scared for Cat throughout this. Although, as with every Night Huntress story I’ve read so far, it did all end with a happy ending.

Every time I read a Night Huntress story; I want to read more. But I always seem to do it when I’m halfway through a whole other pile of books. So, I never quite get around to it. Maybe this time I will get to sink my teeth into another amazing tale before I get too distracted by another story…

<- The GiftThe Bite Before Christmas ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Ms. Humbug by Jill Shalvis

Overview
The Night Before Christmas by Lori Foster

Title: Ms. Humbug
Author: Jill Shalvis
In: The Night Before Christmas (Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, Kathy Love, Jill Shalvis, Kylie Adams & Katherine Garbera)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 24th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Brava
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: “You.”

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Synopsis

Wild, daring, a complete rebel, Matt is the man no woman can tame – until he kisses his nemesis, Cami, at the office holiday party, and suddenly, all bets are off…and running…

Thoughts

This was such a great Christmas novella. Not that I’ve ever been to a work Christmas party, but this one sounded like great fun. And a great way to begin a relationship. Or at least, it is when it’s in a novella and there is all sorts of potential in the air. I’m not so sure about what it would truly be like in reality, but isn’t that the reason that we read?

I didn’t really get the title containing humbug for this story. I was expecting someone who was just totally anti-Christmas. But Cami in this story really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not exactly Christmassy, but she’s also not grinchy. I wanted a little more resistance to the whole Christmas thing in this story, but it all worked out alright in the end.

This was, honestly a fairly typical Christmas, contemporary romance novella. It was cute, sweet and kick. A pleasant read. And one that I wouldn’t mind revisiting next Christmas, but also nothing ground shaking and impossible to forget.

<- Snowed UnderI’ll Be Home for Christmas ->

Image source: Goodreads

Midsummer’s Knight by Kinley MacGregor

Overview
Where's My Hero? | Julia Quinn | Author of Historical Romance Novels

Title: Midsummer’s Knight
Author: Kinley MacGregor
Series: Brotherhood of the Sword & MacAllister
In: Where’s My Hero? (Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn & Kinley MacGregor)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Regency romance
Dates read: 24th December 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2003
5th sentence, 74th page: He was superb.

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Synopsis

When Simon of Ravenswood secretly answered Lady Kenna’s letters in the name of a powerful earl, he was only being polite. Little did he know the lady would fall in love with the author and come between him, his best friend, and a solemn vow made long ago, in Kinley MacGregor’s enchanting Midsummer’s Knight .

Thoughts

This admittedly was a bit of a cringe-worthy romance. I really, seriously, and thoroughly enjoyed it. But it still made me cringe. Repeatedly. After all, Simon writes to a woman under someone else’s name, falls in love with her, and then accidentally proposes… all under another man’s name. If that doesn’t make you cringe, what will?

This was my first Kinley MacGregor story, and I am completely entranced. Although the storyline was a bit cringey, it was also brilliant. I thoroughly, seriously and wonderfully loved this tale and couldn’t stop thinking about it after I turned that final page. In fact, even as I write this review (a few days after finishing the novella), all those wonderful, hopeful, cheerful feelings come rushing back.

Kenna and Simon are a fun couple. I don’t love that there was a description of Kenna as kind of plain, but pretty much no description of Simon. But I did love the fact that they both tend to be regaled to the sidelines a little bit. It’d be a lonely life being overlooked frequently, so it made this story all that much more wonderful and hopeful when they find each other…

<- Against the OddsA Tale of Two Sisters ->

Image source: Juila Quinn