In the Clear by Tamara Morgan

18627383
Grade: C
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, novella, holiday.
Series: Winter Rescue #1
Published: 11/11/13
Reviewed by Anne
96  pages

Lexie might come across as a ditz who gets into ridiculous scrapes, but she’s a great at her job and has a close family.  She is a bit jealous of the close relationship that her twin Sean with his best friend Fletcher.  Fletcher is practically family to Lexie and Sean, and he’d never want to ruin that, so he’s hidden his feelings for Lexie for years.  But suddenly Lexie is looking at him differently when an article in paper exposes the secret double life as a search and rescue volunteer.  She’s pushing her way into his life to figure out what else about him she didn’t know, and that’s putting her a bit too close to Fletcher’s hidden feelings.

I love Tamara Morgan, so it’s with much sadness that I admit that this story really didn’t work for me.  It was ok, but I felt like the author pushed things around to set up the circumstances she wanted to the point that it didn’t feel natural.  I know that’s pretty much what every author does, but when it’s done well, you read it and think “That could happen.”  In this case I had to keep telling myself, “Just accept it.”

One thing I did enjoy about the story was the way that Fletcher and Lexie saw each other’s true selves.  Even more clearly than others around them, Fletcher and Lexie saw how the other’s faults were also strengths.  Once they came together it was easy to see how they would lift each other up.  That was nicely done.

Maybe I went in with expectations too high.  I’ve really loved Tamara Morgan in the past, and I generally love holiday novellas.  In the end, this was just an ok read for me.

Light My Fire by G.A. Aiken

17731347

Grade: B
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Paranormal, Shifter, Dragons
Series: Dragon Kin #7
Published: 11/25/14
Reviewed by Anne
483 pages

This is why you need to be reading the dragon books by G.A. Aiken:

“You best go to him, sister, and soothe his hurt feelings.”

“Why should I?”

“You know how men are.  If you treat them nice and buy them gifts, they will suck your pussy like a champion.”

“Well, when you put it like that…”

Seriously, no one does over the top humor like Aiken.  When I need to read a foulmouthed book full of equal parts violence and humor along with some hot sex, the Dragon Kin series is the place to go.  I’ve got kids, and I’m a pretty polite person, but it’s such a wonderful release to read about these dragon shifters and their mates!

Elina is not unforgettable.  In fact, the Daughter of the Steppes is all too forgettable to Celyn the Charming.  He deposits her in the local jail in the name of keeping her safe and promptly forgets her.  Thankfully she’s still safe there months later when the queen requests to see her.  Events force the human (Elina) and the dragon shifter (Celyn) together and Celyn is shocked that Elina isn’t falling for his charm.  He’s pretty amazed by her self confidence, ferocity, and willingness to use him for sex.  For her part, Elina finds Celyn annoying and far to talkative, but quite convenient for sex.

There’s a culture clash between Elina and Celyn that is quite interesting and entertaining.  In Elina’s homeland, women are the warriors and worthy warriors marry and keep multiple husbands who tend to household and raise the children.  She’s only heard rumors about dragons before.  Elina’s life has been hard, and she’s amazed at the life of laziness and luxury she finds in Celyn’s country.  This made for some nice and humorous conflict between the two of them.

Full, disclaimer, this book is more on the sci fi side than it is romance.  There are quite a few pages devoted to politics and a story arc running through the series.  There are a lot of characters – you need to engage your brain to keep track of them all.  I still loved it!

With all of the characters, I think this book would work best read in order in the series.  That said, I skipped two books and read this one and did ok.  I think the book is must read for people who have enjoyed the series so far.  If it sounds interesting, you can start with Dragon, Actually.  I highly recommend the series.

Her Holiday Man by Shannon Stacey

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Grade: A
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary , small town
Published: 11/3/14
Reviewed by Anne
98 ebook pages

Will is moving back home to help his mom out after his dad dies.  He’s been wandering for a few years.  He left town after his wife and unborn baby were killed in a car accident.  He’s a not excited about all the pity he left behind, but he’s glad to have a purpose helping his mom out.  He’s surprised and a little suspicious to find that a young single mom has moved in across the street and his mom has taken the new neighbor, Christina, and her seven year old son, Nathaniel, under her wing.  Then Christina turns out to be someone Will admires and is attracted to.  Neither of them is looking for a relationship, but some sex would be awfully convenient…

This book was everything I look for in a holiday read.  It was short (about 100 pages) and focused on Will and Christina and their relationship.  Christina was a woman who had her silver platter life yanked away from her, but landed on her feet ready to work hard and figure things out.  She doesn’t want to rely on anyone but herself again, but she’s smart enough to accept help when she needs it.  Will goes from being suspicious of Christina’s motives to admiring her determination quickly.  He’s a natural helper and caregiver, and they’re drawn to each other pretty quickly.

A series of small misunderstandings provides the conflict in this story.  Usually that annoys me, but in this case it really worked.  The author didn’t force the characters to jump through hoops to perpetuate the misunderstandings.  In fact, they’re resolved fairly quickly when the characters talk to each other.  That was refreshing!

I really liked Nathaniel.  He was probably a bit perfect for a seven year old, but it didn’t bother me.  In fact, nothing about this story bothered me.  I read it in pretty much one sitting and took very few notes.  It just sucked me in and made me smile.

It’s not connected to any of Shannon Stacey’s other books, though it has the same small town feel she writes in her Kowalski books.  I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a feel good holiday read!  How about you?  Do you have a favorite holiday romance?