Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review: What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, and Meredith Duran

What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, and Meredith Duran
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical Romance What Happens Under the Mistletoe Cover
ISBN: 9781476786087
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Sabrina Jeffries Reading Order

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead. In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in Twelve Kisses when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle. In By Any Other Name, Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss. In Sweetest Regret, will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?

In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.

“The Heiress and the Hothead” (Sinful Suitors, Book 1.5) by Sabrina Jeffries
Sparks fly when an English journalist hell bent on mill reformation meets a spirited American mill owner in “The Heiress and the Hothead.” I’ve been waiting for Amanda and Stephen’s story ever since Sabrina Jeffries teased their attraction in The Art of Sinning and I wasn’t disappointed. Both Amanda and Stephen have caring hearts and are both a bit unusual given the time period. They have excellent chemistry and fit one another perfectly, but years of seeing mill owners’ abuse of powers makes Stephen a bit too focused on his work and his cynical view of mill owners threatens to blind him to the fact that Amanda clearly isn’t like the men he reports on. Their passionate back-and-forth makes the pages of their story fly by, and I had no doubt that Ms. Jeffries would give these two a satisfying happily ever after. “The Heiress and the Hothead” is sure to charm Sinful Suitors fans. How can it not? It stars a vibrant hero and heroine who want to make the world better and adds in a dash of sensual holiday cheer.

“Twelve Kisses” by Karen Hawkins
Years ago, Marcus Sutherland and Kenna Stuart were engaged. But after a horrible fight a month before their wedding, Marcus left the country and Kenna married someone else. Now Kenna is a widow and when she and Marcus are thrown together at a holiday party, scandal threatens both their names. But when they find themselves trapped alone together in a snowstorm, things start to get interesting.

There’s nothing quite like a snowstorm to bring together two people who never stopped loving each other. Mistakes and misunderstandings have long kept them apart, but when forced to confront each other, it becomes clear that Kenna and Marcus are still meant to be. “Twelve Kisses” is fast and fun, but it isn’t the most memorable of Karen Hawkins’s stories. I liked “Twelve Kisses” well enough, and though it’s connected to author Ms. Hawkins’s Princes of Oxenburg series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

“By Any Other Name” by Candace Camp
Rylla Campbell’s brother is missing and she’s determined to find him before Christmas. Dressed as a young man and taking her hunt to gambling dens, Rylla runs into trouble… Only to be rescued by the handsome Gregory Rose. What follows is a story of a determined man chasing down a woman who is attracted to him, but who refuses to give him her real name.

“By Any Other Name” is a charming story that’s fast-paced, if a bit fluffy. I liked Rylla and Gregory, but their fast fall into love when they don’t know much about each other took a bit too much suspension of disbelief for me. Still, author Candace Camp has a good sense of humor and the story made me smile more than once. Perhaps a longer format would have suited this story better, but as it stands “By Any Other Name” is sweet and enjoyable.

“Sweetest Regret” by Meredith Duran
Two years ago, Lucas Godwin broke Georgiana Trent’s heart. Now it’s Christmas and her diplomat father has ordered Lucas to help Georgie find a stolen letter of great importance at a holiday house party. With no other choice, the two must work together. Both carry hurt and resentment toward the past, but their forced closeness brings some surprising truths to light.

“Sweetest Regret” is my absolute favorite story in this anthology. Normally I’m not a fan of “big misunderstandings,” but Meredith Duran makes it work in this absolutely lovely tale. Georgie is a smart woman who has always been relegated to the role of wallflower. Lucas is a handsome, charming man who has been forced to claw his way up the diplomatic ranks due to the circumstances of his birth. Lucas and Georgie were instantly attracted to each other when they met in Munich, but what charmed me was their attraction wasn’t simply physical. Their conversations and shared interests are what made them fall in love. When outside forces tore them apart and caused misunderstandings on both sides, both Lucas and Georgie were deeply hurt. Now they have to risk their hearts and open up if they hope to find happiness again. It isn’t easy, but Ms. Duran makes the ups and downs worth it. “Sweetest Regret” is sensual and fun, with a healthy dose of Christmas spirit, but it’s the honest emotion between Lucas and Georgie that truly makes this story shine.

What Happens Under the Mistletoe is a delightful collection of Christmastime historical romances. Fans old and new of Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, and Meredith Duran will surely find themselves charmed by these fast-paced and fun stories. Though the stories aren’t connected, What Happens Under the Mistletoetruly feels like a unified anthology and it’s a great collection to curl up with by the fire this winter.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.