Novella Review: One Night in Santiago by Audra North

One Night in Santiago (Entangled Flaunt)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I picked up One Night in Santiago for two reasons.  First, I enjoyed Audra North’s Falling for the CEO.  A lot.  Second, I have been reading a string of YA dystopian novels, and I needed a break.  Something light.  Something complete in one sitting.  Something with a happy I know without a doubt things are going to be awesome ending, because the last few books I read left me uncertain of the final outcome for the protagonists.

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Novella Review: Revenge of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

Revenge of a Chalet Girl: HarperImpulse Contemporary Romance Novella

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was a bit disappointed with Revenge of a Chalet Girl.  I really enjoyed the story until Josh’s fiancée arrives in town, and then I was so irritated with him for letting her take advantage of him.  Amy’s behavior also borders on  stalkerish, and some of her decisions made me cringe.

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Novella Review: Falling for the CEO by Audra North

Falling for the CEO (Entangled Flaunt)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Falling for the CEO is a great Christmas read!  It’s angsty and sizzles with tension – this was a finish in one sitting book.  Things got a little shaky near the end, but it has such a feel-good ending that I can’t give it more than a small downward bump for Andrew’s bizarre behavior after he and Meredith sleep together for the first time.  He practically flies out of bed and out of Meredith’s apartment with hardly a word, leaving her devastated.  Sure he had only her best interests at heart, but dude!  Make sure that the woman you care for, and that you know has serious trust issues, understands that you aren’t dropping her like a hot potato!

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Novella Review: Christmas in Dogtown by Suzanne Johnson

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Christmas in Dogtown is a short, sweet read of about 30 pages.  Protagonist Resa is having a rough year.  She lost her job when her company downsized, her boyfriend dumped her shortly after, and now her house is about to go into foreclosure.  When her ailing uncle asks her to help with the family business during the holidays, she can’t refuse him.  Though she’d rather do just about anything  other than help him make sausage, she doesn’t have the heart to deny him when he needs her help.  She has avoided her rural hometown and hates going home with her tail between her legs, but family is family.

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Novella Review: Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I am very torn about this story.  At first I just wasn’t engaging with Jenny and her cybersex sessions with C, a talented macro photographer she connects with online.  She’s a recent transplant to Ohio, where she works as a researcher at the university.  C also works there, and at one time he lived in her apartment.  She doesn’t want to ever meet him, and she’s comfortable with her current routine of working, then getting home and whooping in it up with C online.  Meh.

But as the reasons for her reclusive behavior emerge, I was all over the book.  Jenny has been diagnosed with a degenerative eye disorder, and she will eventually lose her vision.  It is slowly closing in on her, and she has already lost most of her peripheral vision.  Her dream has always been to study microorganisms under a powerful microscope, and the prospect of not being able to fulfill her dreams, and the fear of becoming dependent on others is eating away at her.  She is hostile with her occupational therapist, and gives him nothing but resistance during their weekly therapy sessions. 

There are moments of overwhelming emotions in Snowfall.  Though it took me a bit to become immersed in the story, once I was it was hard to put down.  I felt so much empathy for Jenny; the prospect of slowly being rendered blind is terrifying.  Her anger and grief were palpable.  And through her emotional turmoil, Evan remained steadfast, frustrated with himself for not being able to reach through her wall of resistance.   I enjoyed the slow development of their romance, and how intense it burned after Evan resigned as her therapist because of professional conflicts and because he couldn’t deny his feelings for the “fiercely intelligent” Jenny.  If there is a happy ending to Jenny’s condition, it’s that she no longer had to worry about facing her difficult future alone.  I know that between Evan’s sheltering love and Jenny’s inability to give up, her future will remain bright.

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

As leftover turkey and stuffing give way to stockings and little black dresses, this tantalizingly sexy eBook bundle offers up holiday-themed novellas from a trio of beloved romance authors. Lisa Renee Jones gives a dedicated reporter and a powerful businessman a chance to count their Thanksgiving blessings in Play with Me; Mary Ann Rivers presents Snowfall, the story of a woman who confronts a life-changing event—hopefully with a special man by her side—just in time for Christmas; and in Serena Bell’s After Midnight, an explosive New Year’s kiss leaves two strangers wondering whether they’ll ever see each other again.

PLAY WITH ME by Lisa Renee Jones
Kali Miller has spent three years reporting fluff stories, waiting for the article that will launch her career to new heights. When she suddenly finds herself forced to take a job as an executive secretary at a Vegas casino, Kali meets the subject of what will surely be a shocking exposé: her boss, Damion Ward, the arrogant and undeniably sexy CEO. But after Damion invites her to help him plan a Thanksgiving charity event, Kali begins to see another side of the man. And when she surrenders to the exhilarating tension simmering between them, Kali hopes her story will have a happy ending.

SNOWFALL by Mary Ann Rivers
Jenny Wright can’t get enough of her erotic conversations with someone she knows only as “C.” Flirting online helps Jenny temporarily escape confronting the changes to her life as she slowly loses her vision. Jenny’s occupational therapist, Evan Carlisle-Ford, is helping her prepare for the challenges ahead, but the forthright, trustworthy man can no longer ignore his growing attraction to his fiercely intelligent client. Now Jenny must choose between the safe, anonymous “C”—or the flesh-and-blood Evan, whose heated kisses can melt snow faster than it can fall.

AFTER MIDNIGHT by Serena Bell
The clock is ticking down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, and all Nora Hart and Miles Shephard can think about is kissing each other—even though they met just minutes before. Then, as fast as Miles enters Nora’s life, he’s gone . . . and she never even gets the name of the man she thinks might just be “the one.” One year later, Nora and Miles are reunited. The chemistry between them is just as strong as they remember. But Miles broke her heart once before—and this time around, Nora’s not sure whether she can give love a second chance.

Spotlight: ‘Tis the Season Christmas Anthology

I had a great time reading the ‘Tis the Season Christmas novellas published by Entangled Publishing under their Indulgence imprint, so I asked the authors to drop by the virtual offices to answer a few questions.  Check out what they had to say!

‘Tis the Season to be Kissed (Entangled Indulgence)  by  Amy Andrews

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Santa or the Grinch?

[Amy Andrews] Definitely Santa. Love, love, love Christmas. Love the carols and the tree and the decorations and saying Merry Christmas to complete strangers in the street and I love feeling so full I’m going to die on Christmas day and that wonderful family feel to the whole holiday. Freaking love it!

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Novella Review: ‘Twas the Night Before Mischief by Nina Rowan

‘Twas the Night Before Mischief (A Daring Hearts Novella)

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This is a cute Christmas read, with a surprising amount of angst.  Both Penelope and Darius long for something more, yet neither knows how to break out of the mold of perfect behavior they have shaped themselves into.  Penelope has bridled for freedom, for recognition, for anything but being the paragon of perfection she has become.  She seethes with passion and she desperately wants to be something else.  Anything else but the obedient daughter of Henry Darlington.  Darius is the son of an earl, and being a younger son among many, he feels just as ignored as Penelope.  After his mother causes a family scandal that almost ruins his family, he is determined to do the right thing.  Even though he bristles at being unemotional and passionless.

Ha!  This couple burned up the pages with their wicked flirting, most of which consisted of word play sizzling with innuendo. Darius has just accepted a commission to write the Scientific and Literary Treasury, an encyclopedia of terms to replace more antiquated dictionaries, so words and their meanings are played up in the narrative.  He is also an inventor, seeking better methods of mixing chocolates for use at the Darlington’s confectionary.  He places a great deal of pride on his ability to think things through, so his attraction to Penelope puzzles him.  She is impulsive and so not like him.  After running away with a rake, Darius has agreed to go fetch her.  While he can pretend that he’s doing Henry a favor, he’s really chasing after her for himself. 

Penelope has run off to the wilds of Scotland with a fortune seeking rogue.  When his mother firmly rejects her because she’s the daughter of a shop keeper, she finds herself stranded in a tiny town, with no money and no possessions.  She’s desperate to make enough money to get herself back home.  When Darius arrives in town to fetch her back, she’s not happy.  She thinks he has the emotional depth of a herring, but their journey back to London will show her how wrong she is.  Even though she’s angry that he’s come to collect her like an errant schoolgirl, she’s relieved that her horrible ordeal will soon be over.  She’s also reminded of the fiery kiss she and Darius shared under the mistletoe…

I really liked Penelope.  Her mother died when she was a child, and when her father remarried and started a new family, she never felt that she was a part of it.  Though her new step-mother treated her with kindness, Penelope was aching over the loss of her mother, and she felt betrayed by her father.  She felt that he ignored her, and that she was invisible to him.  When he planned a Christmas celebration on the anniversary of her mother’s death, she finally gave into the temptation to be seen and heard.  Yes, in retrospect she could have chosen her rebellion a bit more carefully, but how could she have known that Wilkie was still tied so firmly to his mother’s apron strings?  Being sent packing with no money and no means to get home gave her time to think, and also gave her the opportunity to get to know Darius better when he finally showed up to escort her home.

‘Twas the Night Before Mischief is a pleasant way to while away some time  between holiday preparations.  The ending is very cute, too, and now I’m curious to read a longer book by Nina Rowan.

Grade:  B+

Available December 10, 2013

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Twas the night before mischief and all through the house, a lady was plotting-it was time to break out! 

When Penelope Darlington is persuaded to elope with a most unsuitable suitor, she wastes no time. With visions of passion and adventure dancing in her head, she steals away in the middle of the night, just before her father’s Christmas feast.

Fearing for his daughter’s reputation, Henry Darlington begs Darius Hall, the Earl of Rushton’s daring yet discreet son, to bring Penelope home. When Darius finally catches up to Penelope he is shocked. She’s not the silly little girl he expected, but a beautiful woman with a sharp mind and an allure that cannot be ignored.

Now forced to kidnap Penelope in order to bring her home, Darius and his new charge spend the next several days-and nights-in very close quarters. Penelope wanted passion and adventure, but she never could have imagined the pleasures Darius can provide . . .