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HOLIDAY REVIEW: “Comfort and Joy (anthology)” by Various Authors

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ABOUT:

A Holiday anthology

Rest and Be Thankful by Joanna Chambers
Two stormy hearts find peace when feuding neighbors in the Scottish Highlands are trapped by a blizzard.

Things haven’t been going well for Cam McMorrow since he moved to Inverbechie. His business is failing, his cottage is falling apart and following his very public argument with café owner Rob Armstrong, he’s become a social outcast.

Cam needs to get away from his troubles and when his sister buys him a ticket to the biggest Hogmanay party in Glasgow, he can’t leave Inverbechie quick enough. But when events conspire to strand him in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm, not only is he liable to miss the party, he’ll also have to ask his nemesis, Rob, for help.

 

Out by Harper Fox
Can a stranger unlock the courage and passion in a young man’s captive heart?

It’s Christmas at Edinburgh’s magnificent Barlinney Hotel, and chief housekeeper Cosmo Grant is in charge of the festivities. He’s already got his hands full when handsome Ren Vaudrey checks in.

It soon turns out that Ren is an undercover cop. Cosmo wants to help him, but unless he can do it within the Barlinney’s walls, Cosmo is stuck. A victim of crippling agoraphobia, he’s been a prisoner in this gilded cage for over a year. Cosmo gathers all his courage to do the right thing by Ren and Sam—and as a glittering Christmas Eve descends on the city, finds himself confronting his very darkest fears.

 

Waiting for Winter by LB Gregg
Some mistakes are worth repeating.

Luke always thought he and Winter were the perfect couple—until the day Winter announced he was taking a new job and they were uprooting and headed for Germany. No discussion. No debate. For the first time in his life, Winter miscalculated. Badly. Now Luke is trying his best to move on with his life, but Winter is back in town and he’s set on digging their relationship out of the deep freeze.

 

Baby, It’s Cold by Josh Lanyon
Or maybe it’s the flu. Breaking up is hard to do — especially around the holidays.

Talk about Kitchen Nightmares! TV Chef Rocky and Foodie blogger Jesse have been pals forever, so it should have been the most natural thing in the world to move their relationship to the next level. Instead, it turned out to be a disaster. But Christmas is the season of love, and someone’s cooking up a sweet surprise…

REVIEW:

DID YOU SEE THE LINEUP OF AUTHORS ON THIS THING?!!!!! Holy cow, those names alone should get this 3.5 stars to start. I don’t even have to read another word. :) Thankfully…I did.

 

Rest and Be Thankful by Joanna Chambers – 3.5 stars

Oh Ms. Chambers. How I adore your words. You make me want to pick up and move to Scotland and drink coffee and whiskey and wine.

Cam and Rob both live in a small town in the Scottish Highlands. Cam is having a rough go of it, starting a new business and not making many friends in the village. He’s hard up for cash and things are going downhill fast. Cam made me…sad. Man did he make me sad. Being down on your luck is one thing…but REALLY being DOWN on your luck is hard to read. I wanted him to be happy because it was so hard to read him being SAD.

Rob is your everyman. He’s a good guy. People like him. He’s older. He’s a widower. He’s moderately successful as a cafe owner. He’s talented as a painter. And the town embraces him. I like Rob. I didn’t really get to know  too much about him, but I liked him. And I knew I NEEDED him to give Cam something to be happy about.

The two are friends, then enemies (based on a misunderstanding) and then, when weather ruins plans for the new year, they’re suddenly thrown together and hanky panky ensues. I think the hook-up happened rather abruptly and I was a little thrown by that as the pace felt different than the rest of the story.

Still, I found this story to be emotional, sweet, redemptive, and HOT!

 

Out by Harper Fox – 3.5 stars

I really enjoyed this one because 1) I love Harper Fox’s style, 2) though contemporary, her stories always feel like they’re written for another time, 3) the mystery/romance/PTSD/hotel setting all combined for a story that really worked for me.

Cosmo is the head of housekeeping at the very prestigious Barlinney Hotel. Because of a traumatic incident in his recent past, he suffers from agoraphobia and never leaves the hotel. He meets a mysterious stranger, a guest at the hotel, and is immediately attracted to him.

Ren is a cop who’s searching for his missing partner…and who is wildly attracted to Cosmo. Yes, it was insta-love…this is a short story so I can forgive that. But, I just really liked these two together. I think Fox does an amazing job of writing hurt and imperfect characters…the love-healed-me angle of her stories works for me and it did so here as well.

The story was a bit rushed and had a dark tone to it, but I still found my self delightfully entertained.

 

Waiting for Winter by LB Gregg – 4 stars

My favorite story of the bunch! Second-chances storylines WARM my heart and fill it with HOPE (the melodramatic romantic in me!) and this one…*sigh*…I loved it. I loved it because it was obvious Luke & Winter never stopped loving each other. It was obvious that with a little extra communication, they were right there, primed and ready to get back together. I loved it because the snowed-in-at-a-mountain-cabin plot twist is one I could read over and over again. I loved it because LB Gregg just writes characters that I adore.

This story was romantic and heartwarming…and Winter’s obsession with getting that tree was the best thing ever! :)

 

Baby It’s Cold by Josh Lanyon – 3.5 stars

I have to admit that I was completely lost as to what was happening the beginning of the book. The hidden agendas and the extra characters confused me and I wasn’t sure what was going on other than 2 guys who used to date, now seemed mad at each other (????), and there’s some cooking going on.

Then, Lanyon kicked it into gear. I think it started with when he went back in time describing when Rocky & Jesse met as kids. And then they fell in love. And then it all went to shit.

As I mentioned before, second-chance-love stories are my favorites. And this one packed an emotional punch when it started to get going. I felt Jesse’s loss and his broken heart. I felt his fear of not having Rocky in his life. And I loved it.

Started weak, but ended strong. I would love to read more of this couple!

RATING:  3.5 STARS

BOOK INFO:

23701788 (1)Title: Comfort & Joy
Author: Joanna Chambers, Harper Fox, LB Gregg, Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Self-pub
Pages: 231
Release Date: December 5, 2014
Purchase Links: Amazon

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This entry was posted on December 21, 2014 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Susan and tagged , , , , , , , .

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