Monday, December 17, 2012

Another Round of Christmas Novellas

I love Christmas! Living in Southwest Florida where the weather rarely falls below 76 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day can be a bummer though! Wearing a sweater to work during the month of December also requires packing other clothes because by 11am you'll be drowning in a pool of your own sweat! Granted, I would only want it cold those 2 special days of the year! We tire of cold fronts very quickly here!  

Being that it's an extremely busy holiday I've had to revert to reading novellas. If I read full length novels the only thing I would accomplish was finishing a book. I like to think this puts me on the Nice List!!!

Miss Kanes Christmas by Caroline Mickelson 
This is a delightful short novel but a little longer than your typical free kindle novella. At 154 pages it was slightly rushed but pleasant with a very unique storyline! Miss Carol Kane (aka Carol Candy Kane Claus) is Santa's daughter and Santa has given her a difficult Christmas task. 3 days before Christmas she is sent to the home of Ben Hanson, a single father of 2 young children, to pose as the new nanny. Her infiltration into the Grinch's house is pure enjoyment from the moment she steps off the sleigh and knocks at Ben's door in the middle of the night. I don't usually go for contemporary romance but I was instantly drawn in by the authors unusual story line. Well unusual for me anyway. Imagine Santa's children getting a little romance story of their own. I dig it! This really could have been a longer novel and I wouldn't have complained. I loved all the characters right down to the crazy elves and even Bah Humbug Ben - he was very charming in his way. Oh and it's still free on Kindle -regularly $5.99. 
I gave it 4 stars
Amazon - 4.7 stars
Goodreads - 4.60 stars
With Christmas only three days away, Carol Claus agrees to her father’s request that she leave the North Pole on a mission to help save Christmas. Joining single father Ben Hanson and his children for the holidays seems an easy enough task until Santa informs her that Ben is the man behind the disturbing new book ‘Beyond Bah Humbug: Why Lying to Your Children about Santa Claus is a Bad Idea’.

Posing as Miss Kane, the children’s new nanny, Carol pulls out all the stops to show Ben how fun Christmas can be, all the while struggling to understand how one man could hate the holidays so much. How could she, Santa’s only daughter, be so attracted to a man who refuses to believe her father exists? **Please note - this book was originally titled Carol's Christmas**
The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt by 9 different authors

This was the 2nd novel that I've read recently that was a collaboration of many authors each contributing a chapter. This  newly released Christian Contemporary Fiction novella isn't real long either though not short enough to be called a novella in my opinion, you can still finish it quickly - maybe an hour or two. This was definitely not a book I normally would have chosen. I don't tend to read contemporary fiction at all and this wasn't a romance. It was a very feel good story though with an excellent message on the true meaning of forgiveness. It did have the opportunity for romance but fell flat, probably because it was written by so many authors. The adventure she embarks on is incredible and the storyline is amazing. This is also still free on Kindle and normally sells for $.99
Grace takes delivery of a package and her life is turned upside down by nine sealed mystery envelopes from her late grandmother. Grammie’s instructions require Grace to take the journey of her lifetime, not only to far off places, but also into the deepest parts of her heart. As she follows the trail laid out for her and uncovers her family’s darkest secrets, Grace is forced to confront the loss and betrayal that has scarred her past and seek the greatest Christmas Treasure of all.
I gave it 3 stars, probably shy a star but though I really enjoyed this novel I didn't love it
Amazon - 4.8 stars
Goodreads - 4.22 stars   

Christmas in Venice: A Short Story by Meadow Taylor
When the author wrote Short in the title she wasn't kidding. Adding Story in there as well is a stretch! It's more like a chapter for a book. I wasn't impressed. It could have been a nice story, it was a well written chapter but seriously I've never been so let down because of how short a story was. I was reading along, pretty engrossed in the tale.....even though again it was a contemporary fiction and BAM, I turned the page and it ended. It's a free download on Kindle and will remain so. I'm sure if readers did purchase it they would request their money back. From what I read it will turn into a full length novel but I'm not sure this reader will be purchasing it.
I gave it 2 stars
Amazon - 3.5 stars
Goodreads - 2.95 stars
Olivia's Christmas trip to Venice, Italy, should be a holiday dream come true. But when her unattended luggage becomes the focus of a handsome Italian policeman’ s bomb investigation, she worries she won't even make it out of the Marco Polo Airport. Practically handcuffed to the best-looking man she’ s ever seen, can Olivia convince him she isn’ t a terrorist before he writes her off for good? Christmas in Venice is the perfect little treat to start the holidays off with a smile.
(This short story is adapted from Meadow Taylor’ s next full-length novel, tentatively titled Midnight in Venice.) 

I have also read 2 novellas that are not Christmas themed this month and they were both pretty good.

Kidnapping the Laird by Terri Brisban
This 28 page historical romance novella was steamy! I enjoyed the tale and found it well written for such a short novella. The author got to the point and finished the story in a pleasing manner - It was well rounded.
I gave it 3 stars
Amazon - 3.4 stars
Goodreads - 3.45 stars
Catriona MacDonnell is a wife of convenience who discovers that she wants more from the handsome, sexy laird she had to marry.

Padruig Grant was not happy when his wife kicks him out of her bed, but his pride prevents him from returning to it. When Catriona takes matters...and her husband...into her own hands to claim the love they both deserve, should he resist her valiant efforts or should he surrender?

This short story appears in the print edition of the MAMMOTH BOOK OF SCOTTISH ROMANCES from January 2011.

Once Upon a Ballroom
Various Authors
An original anthology of short stories set in the glittering ballrooms of Regency England, by Caroline Linden, Katharine Ashe, Maya Rodale, and Miranda Neville.

Discover how a masked ball can turn friends into lovers … how a wicked, wonderful dream can indeed come true … how sometimes behaving as one should not can lead to the most passionate results … and how the truest love is a bond no scandal can shake. Anything can happen at a ball— scandal, passion, disaster … and true love.

The Truth About Love by Caroline Linden
Ask Me to Dance by Katharine Ashe
Once Upon a Dream by Maya Rodale
The School of Wooing for Inept Book Collectors by Miranda Neville

I gave it 3 stars
Amazon - 4.1 stars
Goodreads - 3.17 stars
I enjoyed this collection of short historical romance stories. We often love a supporting character in a novel and don't get to ever read their story unless the author does a series. Theses shorts feature supporting characters from the authors other books. I've never read anything by these authors so the other novels are a mystery to me but I enjoyed the writing style of Maya Rodale and Katharine Ashe and will be checking out a few of their novels in the future.
I really enjoyed Once Upon a Dream and can't wait to read Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale:

I especially liked Ask me to Dance by Katherine Ashe but thought it way too short. I don't believe the author intends to write a continuation of the story like Once Upon a Dream above. Sigh! I would love it if she did.

A few interesting facts about gingerbread that caught my eye -
Gingerbread can be traced back to the ancient Greeks & Egyptians, which they used in ceremonies.
In the 18th century Shakespeare mentions gingerbread in Love's Labor's Lost "And I had but one penny in the world, thou should'st have it to buy gingerbread."  

Victorians decorated their trees with gingerbread cutouts (and possibly before that as well). - oh and not to be confused with their architectural style often referred to as gingerbread.

Lastly, Gingerbread houses became popular in Germany in the 19th century with the release of the Grimm brothers fairy tales which had obviously featured the story Hansel and Gretel.

"Mischief Managed" ~ Kelly

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