Saturday, November 7, 2015

What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, Meredith Duran (Anthology)

Title: What Happens Under the Mistletoe
Classification: Adult Fiction/Anthology
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books; October 27, 2015
ISBN-10: 1476786089
ISBN-13: 978-1476786087
Authors' Websites 
Sabrina Jeffries
Karen Hawkins
Candace Camp
Meredith Duran
Notes: I bought this one.

It's the most wonderful time of the year....Christmas with its seemingly endless array of traditions can be a truly magical time. This anthology features four novellas (aka short stories) about four couples who figuratively fall in love under the mistletoe. If you're looking for quick holiday read to squeeze in between wrapping present, decorating the tree, or cooking a big holiday meal, then you may want to check out "What Happens Under the Mistletoe". One things for sure, what happens under the mistletoe doesn't stay there. A splendid collection of stories which will have you remembering or give you an idea of what its like to fall in love.

The Heiress and the Hothead (Sinful Suitors #1.5)
by Sabrina Jeffries

Amanda Keene is an American heiress who owns Montague Mills.
Lord Stephen Corry is a reporter bent on exposing the cruel treatment of workers by Mill owners
He believes she's just as bad as her English counterparts
She thinks he is a narrowed minded reporter who embellishes the truth for the sake of a good story.
Romance is the last thing either would expect, but after one kiss under the mistletoe ...
Love will find a way.
This was a fun story that centered around a couple who should by all accounts dislike each other, but can't seem to. Each has preconceived notions about the other that slowly need to be chiseled away before they can see the person who truly stands before them. Seeing the process as it happens is what makes this story such an utterly delicious read. I can't help wondering if this was the tiniest bit inspired by the movie North & South and only because it has a cotton Mill in the story. I loved the movie as have many others and the mistletoe kiss brought to mind the kiss in that movie, although no mistletoe was involved with that one.

I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. A great short story that read like a full one. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Twelve Kisses to Midnight 
by Karen Hawkins

It's the same old sad story...Once upon a time Marcus had been engaged. His fiance had broken his heart when she broke off the engagement and married another. He's never really gotten over her. The man she'd married having died, she is once again free to marry. After being bitten and smitten by her once, he vows never to fall for her charms again. That is until one kiss under the mistletoe changes everything...
This was a fun read with a lot of things happening in a very small time frame. Yet, despite all that, it didn't feel rushed. It was a little steamier than I recall Ms. Hawkins stories to be, and had a dash of naughty added into the mix.

I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. It had a fast pace, a couple with an intriguing past, and a lot of fun situations that allowed them to work things out. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating bordering on a SHOWER rating (a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol)

By Any Other Name 
by Candace Camp

Amaryllis "Rylla" Campbell is trying to find her brother and bring him home before Christmas. To accomplish her task, she's going around to some of the seediest clubs around dressed as a young man in hopes of finding him. When her disguise is uncovered (quite literally), she'll do everything she can to save her reputation while hoping the man who saved her from a near fatal attack doesn't discover who she truly is.

Gregory Rose smelled trouble when he noticed a young lad being followed out of a bar by a man he guessed had less than honorable intentions. As he trails behind the two, he finds his suspicions are true. What he never could have guessed, however, is that the young lad he followed isn't a young lad at all, but a beguiling lassie who'll lead him on a merry chase as he tries to discover her true identity.
This was such a delightful tale that I wished the author had made it into a full length book. I love when a young miss tries to disguise herself as a male counterpart and gets caught. They are usually some of the funnest stories and Ms. Camp did not disappoint. Fast paced and full of good humor, I couldn't help adoring this one and giving it 5 out of 5 roses. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating.

Sweetest Regret 
by Meredith Duran

She thought he'd left her and didn't return her feelings.
He thought she didn't think him good enough for her. 
Each was hurt and feels the other has wronged them
Reunited, the truth will be set free, but can true love prevail?
This was a fun story where two people have been led to believe the other doesn't share the strong feelings they have for the other. It was entertaining seeing these two finally come to the conclusion that someone interfered with their budding romance and mislead them. Things could have gone so wrong between these two, but luckily they don't. The interaction between Georgie and Lucas when they still believe the other has toyed with their emotions was a pleasure to watch. I couldn't help but give this one earned 5 out of 5 roses. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM.
Overall, this was one of the best romance anthologies I've ever read. A very talented group of authors came together and cranked up the heat making our holiday season all the more warm and snuggly for it. I couldn't help but give it 5 out of 5 roses. I highly recommend this one. It would make the perfect stocking stuffer, gift for under the tree, or reward for oneself. A truly delightful read that I am glad to own. 

Notes to Keep You in the Know:
"It wasn't until the 18th or 19th centuries, though, that the British started hanging mistletoe as part of Christmas celebrations. In an 1820 story, Washington Irving described Christmas decorations that included "the mistletoe, with its white berries, hung up to the imminent peril of all the pretty housemaids." In The Pickwick Papers(1836), Charles Dickens paints a scene of mass sub-mistletoe kissing: Young women "screamed and struggled, and ran into corners, and did everything but leave the room, until … they all at once found it useless to resist any longer and submitted to be kissed with a good grace." In this context, mistletoe was supposed to bring luck to two people who kissed underneath it and bad luck to those who didn't. Some say proper etiquette is to pick a berry off for every kiss and stop when all the berries are gone. Just don't eat them: Some species of mistletoe are poisonous." (Via the article 'What's the Deal With Mistletoe? How the plant came to be associated with Christmas kissing.' in the Explainer written by By Christopher Beam. For more information regarding Mistletoe, check out the full article at: )

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