Dec 24, 2010

Posted by in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Naughty & Nice by Megan Hart, Shannon Stacey, Jaci Burton and Lauren Dane

Contemporary Romance Anthology
December 6 2010
Carina Press

Received from NetGalley

Holiday Spark by Shannon Stacey

From Goodreads
“House-sitting for her parents seemed like a good idea, until the microwave blew up and the lights went out.
Now Chloe Burke thinks upgrading the electrical system of her childhood home while they are away would make the perfect Christmas gift. Fortunately, there’s an electrician in town who can get the job done by the holidays.
Scott Quinn has wanted to get his hands on the Burkes’ wiring for almost as long as he’s wanted to get his hands on their daughter. Chloe didn’t notice Scott back in high school, but she’s noticing him now, and soon they’re indulging in a little festive fun: no strings, no expectations. After all, Chloe plans to get out of this goldfish bowl of a town and back to her real life in Boston by New Year’s.
But Chloe and Scott discover they enjoy each other’s company just as much out of bed. Could their holiday fling turn out to be the real thing?”

Now this is the kind of Christmas story I like!  Light, fun and sexy with adorable characters.  Chloe and Scott are two people who went to the same high school but who ran in very different social circles.  When they meet up again years after graduating, Chloe doesn’t remember him, but he remembers her…*sigh* There is no denying the sparks between them though.  I liked the chemistry between these two.  It was hot without being over the top.  There were three scenes in this story that particularly stood out for me.  I really liked how Scott deals with his loser friend when he talks about Chloe.  I love how, when Chloe finally remembers Scott, it’s not the obvious things she remembers.  And I love how it all comes together in the end.  The sweetness of the moment.  Really, this was a wonderful light-hearted story that made me smile.

4.5 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“Hugging that man’s ass was what jeans had been created for.”
“Watching Chloe suck that double-thick strawberry milkshake through a straw was going to make Scott’s head explode.  Or something would.  Probably not his head, but something was going to blow and it was going to be messy.”

All She Wants For Christmas by Jaci Burton

From Goodreads
Country singer Riley Jensen would never have returned to her small Missouri hometown if her publicist hadn’t come up with the scheme to tape a Christmas special there. So she never would have known that the man who broke her heart at eighteen—causing her to flee to Nashville—was now a widower with a seven-year-old daughter. Riley has ten years of angst-filled hit songs and Grammy awards to prove she doesn’t need Ethan Kent. But suddenly, she can’t help thinking of all she gave up by running away…
Ethan Kent knew Riley had the talent and the drive to make it as a singer. He also knew she wasn’t going anywhere if she stayed in their nowhere town for him. Then one night and one huge mistake sent her running on the road to fame. Which doesn’t mean he ever stopped loving her…
But with so much separating them, can Riley and Ethan find their way back together one magical country Christmas?

A story of loss love, All She Wants for Christmas was a tender and touching tale.  And there was a little girl dressed all in pink!  How would this story not be cute?  Ethan and Riley were madly in love when they were younger, but a misunderstanding caused Riley to leave town and run off to follow her dreams in Nashville.  Now, years later as a famous country singer, she returns to her home town to film a documentary.  Once she runs into Ethan again, all the pain and confusion comes back.  Really tough, it never really left.  And Ethan is still struggling with his feelings for Riley and is still carrying a very heavy load of guilt on his shoulders.  You can really feel the pain in this couple’s past.  Jaci really wrote the characters well.  You can really feel the pain that these two have endured.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t really click with either of them.  The daughter was cute.  Really sweet actually.  The story reads well, flows well. It’s just that since I didn’t mesh with the players in this story, my overall experience with this one was a little flat.  Good story, good premise, sweet and heartfelt…just not my favorite.

3 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“She could write a song about how good this felt, but she doubted it would ever see airtime.”

Unwrapped by Megan Hart

From Goodreads
Newlyweds Leah and Brandon Long are finally taking a honeymoon. But just a few days into their Christmas-in-Vail vacation, Leah takes a tumble on the slopes, severely spraining her ankle. Being stuck indoors isn’t so bad though: the luxurious chalet boasts a hot tub and cozy fireplace. Besides, sitting with her feet up while Brandon serves her in every way a man can serve a woman is exactly how both of them like to spend their time.
Leah would be in heaven, if only Brandon didn’t insist on playing with the dynamic of their relationship. With kinky sex and deep conversation the only things on the agenda, Leah can’t avoid the discussion of how things might change. Will she be ready to take their marriage to the next level in the New Year?

I learned something about my reading self while reading this story.  Unwrapped starts the ‘naughty’ part of this anthology with a bang!  Steaming right from line one!  No build up or anything.  Just “here I am nice and sweaty” bang!  I wouldn’t have thought that would be an unfavourable thing, but I was wondering if I’d downloaded this correctly.  I felt like I was missing a couple of pages.  I was thinking “I’m very glad you two are having some really really hot sex right now, but who are you?”  It didn’t take long for me to get over that….I got a little distracted *wink* and eventually received all the info I craved.  Then the story was pretty good.  Leah and Brandon make a hot couple.  When they started talking about sexual fantasies, I got a little concerned, but I didn’t need to be.  The baby talk sort of felt like it came out of the blue…then it went to the side…then it came back.  That part threw me for a little loop.  But overall, the couple was hot and the lovin’ was steamy.  Especially the opening scene (once you realize that that is how it is supposed to start…silly Julie).

3 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’Did you just tell me to shut up?’
‘Really.’  She gave him an assessing look, then gripped his chin in her hand, holding his face steady.  ‘That’s the mouth you kiss your wife with?’
‘Any chance I get.’”

Believe by Lauren Dane

From Goodreads
Their First Christmas, Bound Together…
All Jude wants for Christmas is Rori, all to himself. It’s their first holiday season as a couple, and staying home, seeing friends and family, means they’ll be surrounded by the memory of Rori’s late husband. It’s time for Jude and Rori to create their own traditions. Time for them to fully explore their most intimate desires to dominate and submit.
Rori is thrilled when Jude whisks her away to a luxury resort in the mountains. Spending Christmas away, just the two of them, is the perfect time to show him she’s ready to give herself to him completely…

Believe is the continuing story of a couple you first meet in Lauren Dane’s Second Chance.  I haven’t read it, but from what I gather from this book is that it was a strong love story full of tragedy and rebuilding.  Jude is Rori’s second chance.  They are good together…a strong match.  As you are reading this you can’t help but feel how much these two love each other and feel fortunate to be in each other’s lives.  But after a while I was feeling it a little too much.  I love a gushy love story as much as the next gal, but I have a limit.  I guess the best way to explain it would be like this:  You remember back in High School when your best friend had her first boyfriend and how they would make out in front of you all the time?  At their locker, at your locker…it didn’t matter.  You just kept thinking to yourself “how on earth is she still breathing?”  You were very happy for her but after a while, you just wanted to tell your friend to go suck face someplace else.  That’s how I was feeling while reading this.  I liked Jude and Rori quite a bit.  And the depth of their feelings was touching.  But I just didn’t feel the need to be reminded of it every second.  I may have felt a little differently if I had read Second Chance though…maybe.

One aspect of this story I really did like a lot was the D/s parts and how Jude saw Rori as not only his sub but also a very strong woman who was honoring him with her submission.  I thought how Lauren worded this was fantastic.

“He took his responsibility…his role as the top in their relationship seriously.  And not in an ALL CAPS I’M YOUR MASTER way, but because she chose to submit and he should always be worthy of it.  Which meant putting her needs first and being aware of what she was thinking and feeling on a whole new level.”

The smexin’ was hot.  The relationship was strong.  I felt how much they loved each other.  I just didn’t need to be reminded of it so often…but that’s just me.

3 stars

Swoon worthy quote

‘This path was not just his or not only hers, but theirs.

Naughty and Nice was a cute Christmas anthology.  I did enjoy reading it and I might re-read the first story next Christmas to put me in a Christmas-y mood, but I don’t see myself perusing the rest of the book.  Overall, I give this book 3.5 stars.

  1. This one is on the Kindle, waiting for my attention. Looking forward to reading it. I haven’t read Shannon Stacey or Jaci Burton yet.

  2. Sophia – It was the first time I’ve read them too. 🙂

  3. Hey Julie, great review! I wish you could get individual stories on the kindle instead of the whole book. I would love to read the first story but I don’t want to buy the whole thing just for that one. LOL. (Did you end up reading each story individually and then writing it’s review right afterward?)

  4. Deanna – Nope. I wrote notes after each story and wrote it all at once. LOL
    The stories in this anthology are sold separately too. You can buy just the first one at Carina Press’ website for under $3!

  5. Good idea about writing notes after each story and then doing the review at one sitting! Thanks for the info on buying the book seperately…I’ll be purchasing that shortly. 😀

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