Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas novellas: All I Want For Christmas & Holly's First Noel

All I Want For Christmas by Ros Clarke
Genre: Contemporary romance
Kindle Edition
Published December 6th 2011 by Entangled (first published December 2011)

Blurb: Last night, Anna Gardner was the life of the office Christmas party—right up until she threw herself at gorgeous advertising executive playboy, Hugh Munro. Again. Last year, Hugh let her pretend their passionate kiss never happened, but this year he’s determined to make Anna admit she wants him as much as he wants her.

Except, Hugh doesn’t know the office party is the only night of the year his friend lets her hair down. That every hour she’s away from the office is spent caring for her sickly mother. That her mother’s condition, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, is hereditary.

When Hugh finds out what she’s been hiding, he’s forced to do some serious soul-searching. It’s not fair to Anna or her mother for him to get involved casually, but casual relationships are all he knows. Can he prove to himself—and to Anna—that she’s all he wants for Christmas? 

My thoughts:
My problem with novellas is if I really like the story, I wish it was LONGER! That's the case with All I Want for Christmas by Ros Clarke. I liked Anna and Hugh. For two years they've shared a kiss at the holiday party where they work. This year, Hugh wants more. Hugh wants to date Anna but she's too caught up with work and taking care of her mom who has Alzheimer's.

Tender and sweet, I was rooting for this couple to have something more, something lasting, besides one kiss. For a short piece, this novella packed a lot of emotion and depth. 

Rating: 3

Holly's First Noel by Faye Robertson
Genre: Contemporary romance
Kindle Edition, 78 pages
Published (first published December 6th 2011), Entangled Publishing

Blurb: Music teacher Holly Jones is in a festive predicament. Her boyfriend just dumped her the week before Christmas, so why is she only depressed he made off with the mince pies? When the charming science teacher next door overhears the dreaded call and suggests she accompany him on his Scottish holiday retreat, she accepts, eager to spend a quiet week rediscovering herself.

Noel Coward‘s wife died on Christmas Eve three years ago. To bury the memories of that day, he spends the holidays getting drunk and watching action movies—which makes him perfect company for a fellow teacher in need of solitude. Except, instead of wallowing in his grief, Noel finds himself comforted by Holly’s presence, fascinated by her mind, and after one innocent kiss, on fire for her touch. As the snow piles up outside, the temperature inside soars, while together, they discover the human heart’s amazing capacity to heal…and love.

My thoughts:
Once again, I became wrapped up in Holly and Noel's novella and wanted more! Poor music teacher Holly gets dumped by her boyfriend over the phone during a class and Noel, another teacher, overhears the conversation. It's right before Christmas and Noel is someone who knows about heartbreak. He lost his wife during the holidays so he does something nice--he invites the upset Holly to his weekend home for a Christmas meal and the opportunity to begin the healing process. Unbeknownst to either of them, this simple gesture opens up the possibility of the two of them having love in the new year.

When a story can touch you, warm your heart, and even make you laugh, that's the kind of story I love to read. Holly's First Noel is a prime example of that kind of tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this funny, witty, and melancholy love story. Sometimes love can happen when it is least expected. Faye Robertson does a wonderful job of creating complex people and placing them in realistic moments. Holly retains her sense of humor while nursing a broken heart and Noel is a nice guy even if he feels the need to be inebriated during Christmas as a means of dealing with his grief. Two souls dealing with loss come together accidentally and a flame sparks between them. As a forever romantic, I enjoyed watching these two learn to fall in love again. Holly's First Noel is charming, romantic fun and the sweet Christmas winter setting in a cute weekend getaway house is an added bonus.

Rating: 4

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