A Stolen Christmas Kiss – a collection of short stories

I was asked to review this book as part of Zoe Ann Wood’s collection of book bloggers. I decided to give it a read because I do love a Christmas romance, so having 8 short ones sounded pretty cool.

I’m going to review Zoe’s short story first, and in more depth because I wouldn’t have read it if it wasn’t for her. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the others! I’ll also add, I had a hard time trying to pick a favourite. So hard in fact, I never ended up picking one!

Give me Snow and Mistletoe

I think the first thing we need to acknowledge with this story is that cyber stalking is very much a thing we’re all guilty of having done at some point. So it’s no surprise that both Eva and Noah participated in some light cyber stalking before a meddling grandmother conspired to get them on a date before Christmas comes.

I found myself laughing at some of the antics that happened while also feeling like the openness of the characters would never happen in real like. But hey, that shouldn’t get in the way of a sweet, short Christmas romance story! You know it’s going to be a bit faster than normal coz it’s a short story. It just wouldn’t work otherwise.

My only disappointment was the epilogue not giving me a description of the final local. That’s probably because I love reading those kinds of descriptions and love it when it can be described vividly. But that’s nothing compared to the rest of the book and purely a personal thing, nothing against the story.

Melting Mr Grinch’s Heart

I was a little hesitant about this story, but I ended up quite liked it. I’m with Amelia that Grinch’s should be made to love Christmas, so her battle to get Samuel to love Christmas is something I can totally relate to. This goes into my top 4 short stories for this collection.

Christmas of Second Chances

Sandra and Nick are more mature than most romances but at the same time, so sweet! It’s even a second chance romance! How many of those do you see? This goes into my top 4 short stories for this collection.

Christmas Chicken Ballad

Who falls in love with their best friends’ brother? Well, in this case it’s a big issue and the younger brother is pursuing his older sisters’ best friend. The fact that he’s a hot, bass guitarist for a successful band makes things a bit easier doesn’t it? This goes into my top 4 short stories for this collection.

Cruise Ship Christmas

When you go on a singles cruise you probably think you’re gonna hook up with some other cruiser’s yea? You don’t expect to fall for the staff and see a whole different side to a cruise while avoiding your family. This goes into my top 4 short stories for this collection.

Nipping at your Nose

I think this was my actual favourite story out of all of them. If I could have had this in a novel length story, I would totally read it. The way Austen and Zach immediately connect, but not necessarily on a sexual level is great. The way it develops was so sweet and so on point that I wanted more.

Santa Beastly

As sweet as this story is, I just didn’t buy into it at any point. I was left disconnected and left thinking that it was completely implausible. I find I can’t connect with a story if it’s not plausible. For me, it just didn’t quite make it.

On the Christmas Market

After losing her parents, it’s probably not the best idea to be jetting off to Slovenia. Especially at Christmas time with a group of seniors. The instant attraction and appreciation between Evie and Keller is amazing. But it’s their intellectual conversations that challenge each other that really makes this story. Although there’s some good lessons that can be learned from this short story.

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A Different Time – Michael K. Hill

Welcome back everyone, we’re stuck into another massive tour with The Write Reads Ultimate Book Tours. There’s a hint of sci-fi in this one compared to most of the books I read, although I’d love to read more sci-fi in the future coz I know I love that genre in my TV shows and movies.

The first thing I’m going to say is that reading this felt like reading a cross between The Lake House and The Notebook. Both are great romantic stories with tragically sad endings. If you do choose to read this one, I should warn you to have a box of tissues ready because you’ll need them.

The two main characters are set 30 years apart (hence the hint of sci-fi) yet manage to fall in love with each other. Lindsey’s story spans a good 30 years, while Keith’s (after you finish the prologue) spans all of like one month. The prologue is important, and I’m not sure if I was super quick or super slow but I totally keyed in on one tiny little detail and my mind was like “OMG! That’s an anagram of **** and ***! That’s so cool! OOOOOO!!! That means *******!”

I bleeped those out because I doubt you want spoilers for this kind of story. You really do need to read it yourself to realise the genius of it. I literally stayed up 3 hours past my bedtime and 2 hours past my sleep time to read this book in one night. Let’s just say my work colleagues were NOT impressed with my body’s response to the lack of sleep!

On a different note, the day after I finished reading it (same day I’m writing this) I was chatting to Dave from The Write Reads about the story where I mentioned I wasn’t happy with the ending. I really feel like this story deserves a sequel to finish it off. Purely because I have so many questions that I can’t even share with you!

Michael, if you’d like some fan ideas for a sequel let me know! My creativity damn seems to have been well and truly burst open in the last few months so I have a few ideas I think could really work to close off this story without it being overkill.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this really vague review, next week I will be reviewing The Perils of Autumn by Rusty Blackwood brought to me by author request. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Make sure you check out what everyone else thinks too!

Author Bio

Beginning as a sketch comedy writer for American television, Michael K. Hill progressed to become an internationally published writer of fiction and non-fiction. His short story anthology, Anansi and Beyond, published in 2017, and his debut novel, A Different Time, is available now. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, kids, and 7 rescued animals.

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Give Me a Day – Zoe Ann Wood

Welcome back everyone, today I’ll be reviewing the sequel to Give me a Dream. Each book within this series is a standalone book with no characters appearing in the following books, so don’t feel like you need to read the whole series if only one or two books sound good to you.

I was a surprised at how Sebastian and Lori met, and the ongoing strife caused by how they met. Although, I was impressed by how much Lori was considering her safety while travelling alone in a foreign country.

Throughout their time together they slowly build up to a full-blown romance which appears to be going along at a natural pace. But of course, the characters personalities get in the way of things working out which then makes it hard for them.

I did find the ease of access to someone else’s bank records and the willingness to share it a bit weird. That might be my banking background going “NOOOO!!!! NEVER SHARE THOSE DETAILS!!! AND HOW THE HELL DID YOU GET A HOLD OF SOMEONE ELSE’S BANK STATEMENTS?! ISN’T THAT ILLEGAL?!?!?!”

My stress levels got a little bit of a hit, but it did calm down quickly.

Without spoiling the ending, I was robbed of the planning phase that makes it so special. But at the same time, it was kinda sweet, but kinda presumptuous of what the answer would be.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Summer of Going Topless by Liz Davies.

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Give me a Dream – Zoe Ann Wood

Welcome back everyone, for those of you who followed the Shift series by Zoe Ashwood you’ll be familiar with the author of this book. But she’s hiding under a different pen name as this is a completely different style!

We’ve moved away from paranormal romances into the realm of sweet romances. There’s a common theme of romance, but just a different style of romance. I’m not too sure if I’ve read a true sweet romance before, so I’m not sure I have anything to judge this book by in its respective genre. However, I did have many aspects that I liked, and a few I didn’t quite like so much.

What I did like was the strong theme of equality and the need to be environmentally conscious. One of my main issues with equality (well one of a few…) is that women are often given equal opportunity for jobs (in developed countries) but we’re expected to behave a certain way.

Zoe addressed this astutely by having a really strong female lead who’s respected and loved for who she is. Ballsy behaviour and all. When many women in real life probably find this wouldn’t happen. I wish we didn’t live in a world where people were judged because of their sex, race, religion or any other difference you can think of. We’re all people wanting to same things (general themes) from life so why can’t we just move on and let it happen?

What I didn’t like so much was how little story there was outside of the romance. It’s a little bit like those cheesy porn movies where the “plumber” or whatever comes over to fix something and the housewife inevitably has sex with him and there’s not much else to the story. This had a great telling and development of the romance building between Ava and Daniel. But outside of their romance there really wasn’t anything to the story.

As I said, I don’t think I’ve read a true sweet romance before. So, I’m not sure if this is something I don’t like about the genre of this story. Do you know?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries.

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