Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: An Enchanted Season by Maggie Shayne, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh, and, Jean Johnson

Title: An Enchanted Season
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Length: 341 Pages
Publication Date: October 2, 2007
Available Format: Kindle Edition, eBook, Paperback, Mass Paperback
Source: Bought
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Get it @: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Book Description: (taken from Goodreads)

It's the time of year when dreams come true, miracles happen every day, and love is the greatest gift of all. The holidays always seem to bring out the best in everyone, with heartfelt hugs for long-missed friends, sincere smiles in the spirit of the season, and a feeling of magic in the air...

This scintillating collection of paranormal romances celebrates the holidays as never before. From a shape-shifting leopardess who wants a pack-mate to be her soulmate, to a sudden snowstorm that brings a surprise gift, these four tales will stir readers' spirits in all the right places.

An anthology of Christmas stories, perfect for the holiday season. It includes four shorts: Melting Frosty by Maggie Shayne, Charlotte’s Web by Erin McCarthy, Beat the Temptation by Nalini Singh, and Gift of the Magi by Jean Johnson. Because these are short stories I can’t really tell you what they are about without risking revealing the whole thing up, but I’ll do my best to review them without spoilers.

So I read this book due to the Vet VS Newbies challenge at Goodreads’ Gotta Have Paranormal Romance with a Kick Group. The book showcases spirits, witches, werewolves, and the magi and I totally love it. I usually stray away from Christmas books unless I want to read a story from a particular author. It’s nothing against the books, just not what I normally read. Which is why I’m so glad that I was given this book as one of my alternatives, otherwise I would have missed it completely. All four stories are worth the time and can be read in one sitting.

Here is the breakdown:

Title: Melting Frosty

Author: Maggie Shayne
Length: 87 Pages
Individual Rating: ★★★★☆
Description: (taken from the book)
For Matt, Christmas has aroused painful memories ever since his father died, leaving his family all but destitute and Matt with far too much responsibility too soon. Holly lost her family in a tragedy –but found solace and strength in the holidays her family loved so much. So when Matt and Holly cross path, it’s more than fate –it’s a chance for both of them to find the one perfect gift they have both searched for all their lives…
Do you believe in the future, your future, to be pre-ordained? Would you follow the signs if you knew someone was giving you directions from the hereafter? There are three main characters: Mathew, Holly, and the fedora hat. Mathew lost his father one fretful Thanksgiving eve. The last reminder of his father’s presence –a fedora hat– was also lost that time; as a consequence he has hated Christmas ever since. Meanwhile, Holly lost her entire family during Christmas as well, and even though she lost everything, her mother’s love for the holiday has kept her going on strong ever since. Now Fate has found a way to put these two together and the result is a beautiful, sweet, feel-good type of story that just warms you up and keeps you smiling as you read it through.

It’s a very quick read, as is just a short story –you can finish it up in one sitting. I highly recommend it, especially since we are in the holidays.

Title: Charlotte’s Web

Series: Murphy Sisters, Book 1
Author: Erin McCarthy
Length: 72 Pages
Individual Rating: ★★★½☆☆
Description: (taken from the book)
For the longest time, Charlotte Murphy has burned for Will Thornton. But as far as Charlotte can tell, Will sees her only as a friend. Tired of waiting for Will to recognize her as the sexy, wanton woman she truly is, Charlotte decides fall back on her genes –and embrace the witch within her. Her newfound powers offer a tempting way to get what she wants out of who she wants. But does she really want a man like Will to love her because of witchcraft –or because he wants to?
I enjoyed the story, the dynamic between the Murphy sisters reminds me a lot of the dynamic between the Halliwell sisters from the TV series Charmed; the same type of banter and strife. It was a good story but I didn’t connect with Charlotte as much as I would have loved to. In fact, the moment Bree (the second sister) crosses paths with the uptight guy at the coffee shop I wanted to switch story and follow hers instead. In all, the story is sweet, fulfilling, nice, and fun at times.

Title: Beat of Temptation

Series: Psy-Changeling, Book 0.5
Author: Nalini Singh
Length: 96 Pages
Individual Rating: ★★★★★
Description: (taken from the book)
Young Tamsyn has always held a special place in her heart for her fellow packmember Nate. But as the dominant male leopard in the pack, the more experienced Nate doesn’t want to trap Tamsyn into the fierce demands of the mating bond –a bond driven by the animal within– when she is hardly had the chance to grow into a woman. But Tamsyn knows what she wants for Christmas, and she’s going to get it…
A great story that keeps you glued until the very end. Although I have read books by Nalini Singh before this is the first story I read about her Psy-Changeling series. I am officially hooked; I want to read more about it. The story has great characters and interesting plot.

I do have to say that I felt like I needed some parts explained better, so I guess that this story is best read after one has begun the actual series, were more information about their universe is given. The truth is that I didn’t really need it to understand the story –it’s a solid standalone– but I felt slightly like I was reading a story from the midpoint onwards.

Title: Gifts of the Magi
Author: Jean Johnson
Length: 83 Pages
Individual Rating: ★★★★★
Description: (taken from the book)
Steve Bethel and his fiancée, Rachel, could use a few miracles right about now –the family bed-and-breakfast is mortgaged to the hilt, the biggest blizzard in half a century is ruining the shortest day of the year, and their guests are canceling right and left. Then three strangers show up at the darkest hour, looking for a place to stay for the holidays…
I haven’t read anything from Jean Johnson until this point, but I will make a point about getting more books from her. This is by far the best of all the stories in this anthology, to the point that it made me cry; that’s how good it is. The Three Magi is a beautiful story about the miracle that is love in everyday life and how one must keep it alive with the help of simple, little actions. It takes the story of the Three Wise Men and extends it into modern times. I definitively believe that this one is worth reading; especially on this season.


I bought the Kindle Edition for this book and there was a glitch of sorts with this particular edition. I don't know if it's limited to my copy of the book or if it happens to every single one; but just in case here is the glitch.

As I finished the third story (Beat of Temptation) and I was clicking through to get to the next story the pop-up window that allows you to rate the book after you have finished it comes up. Watch the video to see how. I tried it several times and is always on the same spot, plus it comes back up at the end (where it should do normally). I reported it to Amazon, but I have no way to know if they'll fix it.

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