A Christmas to Remember – A Sugar Cookie for the Holiday Soul

 A Christmas to Remember

A-Christmas-to-RememberBy Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon, Marilyn Pappano
(Electronic Book, 2013)

On Sale Date: 12/03/2013

Grand Central Publishing/Hachette

Book provided by publisher for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, ’tis the season for giving love a chance . . .

Kristen Ashley, Every Year: Holidays don’t come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . .

Hope Ramsay, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger.

Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who’s set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . .

Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn’t mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?

My Take!

Each of these stories is centered around a family theme. In several it’s right there but in Molly Cannon’s it’s pretty subtle. That’s whence most of our holiday memories come.

I believe that the degree to which you like the diverse stories in this anthology will greatly depend on how much you enjoy each person’s writing and, also, if you like your stories really sweet or sweet and hot. But I did enjoy something in each story and if I look at this from a bang-for-your-buck it’s a good value.

My favorite story was Dream a Little Dream by Jill Shalvis. It’s unapologetically sweet but there’s some good spice too. I found Ian to be a very sympathetic character and I felt bad about his emotional quandary. But this story has everything: danger, Christmas trees, cookies, poignancy and even a really cute present!

Although Kristen Ashley’s Every Year wasn’t my cup of tea, it had really nice descriptions of family time, it was deep and heartfelt. My biggest problem was the way the female character kept referring to Shy as “My Man.”

Hope Ramsey’s Silent Night  is sweet and its direction is pretty clear. How terribly sad it is that the life struggles the main female character, Maryanne, experienced stole her childhood from her. And, it’s a shame this is probably all to common an experience. Even where I live there are homeless, pregnant women; many are teens.
The predictability of this story doesn’t make it less sweet and poignant.

Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas by Molly Cannon was sweet and funny. The female character is an organizer and Goddess could I use her! I can’t quite place her with a specific image, but I really like her tenacity. And it is a little sexy too. I thought it was great fun.

Marilyn Pappano’s story, A Family for Christmas, is family oriented and while it wasn’t my favorite and it wasn’t steamy it was still nice. There is one very tame sex scene. I like how Ilena makes him face his reasons for his lifestyle change. Marilyn does a great job outlining the cold and sterile family life he came from.   In contrast Ilena is warm and bright despite her sadness. Marilyn’s characters in the story and her excerpt are about military wives. I often think the people who are holding down the home fort serve as well and suffer as much.

Almost more than the stories I really enjoyed each author’s excerpts following her story. And their introductory letter to the reader. Each gave me a glimpse into their work. Like I said, it’s a good value and I enjoyed all the stories to some degree.  Highly Recommend for an afternoon before the fire.

Jill Shalvis’s Website: http://jillshalvis.com/

Kristen Ashley’s Website: http://www.kristenashley.net/

Hope Ramsey’s Website: http://hoperamsay.com/

Molly Cannon’s Website: http://mollycannon.com/

Marilyn Pappano’s Website: http://marilynpappano.blogspot.com/

Book Page at Grand Central/Hachette: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/jill-shalvis/a-christmas-to-remember/9781455547760/#details