Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Men Under the Mistletoe by Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon, and K.A. Mitchell

Men Under the Mistletoe by Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon, and K.A. Mitchell
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Historical and Contemporary Romance Men Under the Mistletoe Cover
ISBN: 9781426892745
Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 out of 5
Original Review Link
Book Purchase Link
Josh Lanyon Reading Order

Four years ago at Christmastime, Thomas broke Alexander’s heart when he fled what was supposed to be their first night together and never returned. Now Thomas has come back to London, determined to win back his beloved. But Alexander is not the happy young man Thomas once knew. Will he be able to thaw the wall of ice Alexander has constructed around his heart?

MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME is a heartbreaking and heartwarming historical romance. Author Ava March shows Alexander and Thomas in love at nineteen and makes it understandable why Thomas ran away and why Alexander is bitter about it. Both men captured my heart, and I could not stop reading their story because I felt like these two deserved to be happy. The only thing I could wish for to make MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME the perfect story was a bit more information at the end. Given the historical setting, I did want to know how Alexander and Thomas would manage to make a life together work. Still, I loved this romance.

Gavin is thrilled at the prospect of a holiday trip to Northumberland. He’ll be able to collect evidence that proves the fabled Arthur and Lancelot of Camelot are real. Even better than his research, though, is that this trip will be his first romantic vacation with his boyfriend, Piers. But when the devoutly Catholic Piers calls, saying that he can’t come to Northumberland and he can’t come out to his family, Gavin is devastated. Heartbroken, Gavin puts his energy into his work and goes out at night to find Hallowed Hill. A fall during a snowstorm sends two handsome rescue men Gavin’s way. The mysterious Art and Lance not only save Gavin, they’re prepared to introduce him to erotic delights that Gavin can teach Piers…if his boyfriend will give him a second chance.

Author Harper Fox adds a dash of the paranormal to the very sexy WINTER KNIGHTS. The twists and turns WINTER KNIGHTS takes are clever and sometimes, perhaps, a bit tongue-in-cheek. I enjoyed getting to know Gavin; he isn’t as blameless as he thinks he is when it comes to why he and Piers have broken up. Gavin has a lot to learn about love and patience, and his sexy rescuers teach him that…and so much more. A touch of sadness brings depth to WINTER KNIGHTS, making it a well-rounded story. Ms. Fox always delivers a well-written tale, and WINTER KNIGHTS is no exception.

LONE STAR by Josh Lanyon
Mitchell Evans always wanted to leave his home in Texas behind and become a famous ballet dancer. He’s achieved his goal, but a bad breakup and losing a coveted role sends Mitch back home to deal with his father’s estate that he’s been ignoring for six months. Driving into his home town, Mitch swerves to avoid a reindeer in the road. He’s rescued by the man who crushed Mitch’s heart twelve years ago. Texas Ranger Web Eisley is as handsome as ever, and the attraction between them still burns bright and hot. But it’ll take a Christmas miracle for Mitch and Web to get a second chance at a relationship.

LONE STAR features many of the romance tropes I enjoy and, as always, I can count on author Josh Lanyon to give the tried and true plot points of reunion romances his own spin. Mitch and Web are both likeable heroes who are clearly meant to be with one another. That being said, it surprised me that LONE STAR lacked the charm that Mr. Lanyon can usually be counted on to infuse his stories with. LONE STAR is by no means a bad story, but it wasn’t quite what I’ve come to expect from Mr. Lanyon. There was also an added element concerning a reindeer only Mitch saw. I’m not sure if it was a paranormal element, a hallucination or simply a tie-in to a Christmas gift from Web later in the story. Still, LONE STAR is a satisfying read overall.

Mel doesn’t HATE Christmas, but after six years of running his family’s Christmas tree farm, he doesn’t exactly love the holiday either. Mel works constantly and sometimes, he has to wonder what life would be like if he’d run off with Bryce when the man had asked. When Bryce returns to town for business and a wedding, the holiday season heats up. The pair can’t keep their hands off of one another, but Mel knows their reunion won’t last long. Strange things start to happen, though, and it almost seems like Bryce is trying to win Mel over. Is Bryce looking for more than a simple holiday fling?

Author K.A. Mitchell steams up the pages in THE CHRISTMAS PROPOSITION. Misunderstandings and perhaps even a lack of maturity kept Mel and Bryce apart in the past. I enjoyed watching Mel and Bryce stumble as they learned to be a couple outside of the bedroom. Their flaws made them more real to me than their virtues. THE CHRISTMAS PROPOSITION is a sexy, enjoyable tale and is the most Christmassy of all the stories in the MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE anthology.

MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE is a wonderful collection of reunion romances that will charm readers all year long. Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon and K.A. Mitchell are all incredibly talented authors whose stories I always look forward to reading, so it’s no surprise that I snapped up MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE. I’m also a sucker for reunion romances, which, perhaps, makes me an easy sell. If you’re looking for Christmas stories, it’s worth noting that that the holiday is more in the background than it would be in most Christmas-themed anthologies. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Carina Press is selling each story found in MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE separately as well as in an anthology.

Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here with permission from Romance Junkies.