Winter Wishes

Winter WishesBy Vivi Andrews, Vivian Arend and Moira Rogers

Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: December 6, 2010
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Publisher/Contest

A Twist on Tradition

A woman has the Christmas Eve from Hell. Two cat shifters play naughty games. And a witch brings out the beast inside the man. The magic of the season takes on a whole new meaning in these three fantastic—and festive—novellas from some of the best voices in paranormal romance.

Anthology includes:

Tangled Tinsel by Vivian Arend
No Angel by Vivi Andrews
Freeze Line by Moira Rogers

Goodreads Summary

Tangled Tinsel by Vivian Arend comes up first: cougar shifter Kyle (who Arend somehow makes incomprehensibly sexy in about two pages) catches a whiff of another hot cougar and follows her into a lingerie shop where El proceeds to molest herself in front of him.  She leads the drooling Kyle back to her place and handcuffs him to her bed, revealing she’s a cop sent to put him in protective custody until a court date because he’s some sort of material witness.  Little does she know, he’s a cop that works for the feds and his case is much, much bigger than El’s.  When she takes him home for the holidays to hide him, hijinks, mysteries, a lot of cop things and sexy stuff happens.

I liked the silly concept of El’s family (I don’t want to reveal spoilers, so I’m just going to say that it’s an unconventional take on what you’d think shifters would be doing) and the juxtaposition of Kyle’s more traditional shifter family dynamic.  The reason El had trouble with a relationship with him seemed a little iffy given that shapeshifters had been outed for a while, but she was likeable enough that it was easy to get past.  There were some plot issues that bothered me: the ex-boyfriend’s appearance seemed unnecessary and the plot involving Kyle’s investigation didn’t seem to really do much other than introduce his family into things.  I still really don’t know what happened with it.  All in all though, I enjoyed this; it was funny and sexy and I still keep having all these kitty puns running through my head a day later.

My Rating: B+

No Angel is from Vivi Andrews: Sasha Christian is pissed.  Her rather bland boyfriend Jay has been ducking her questions about where he’s going for Christmas and her mom’s been nagging her about why she hasn’t brought him home to meet her.  When a somber Jay gives her the whole, “I have to go away,” bit, she’s sure he’s dumping her, at least until he gets sucked into a vortex and yanked into Hell.  When she thinks things can’t get any weirder, an angel drops in telling her she’s a Champion and that she’s got until Christmas morning to get Jay out of Hell, bring him back to earth and redeem him.  He neglects to tell her that her boyfriend’s half-demon.

This is another story that has a lot of humor woven in, although this time it’s snappier and moves just as quickly as the story (fast!).  Sasha’s a Hollywood stuntwoman, so she’s pretty kick-butt; when she gears up to go get Jay, she does it just as well as any UF heroine, with a katana, throwing stars, a pair of .44s given to her by the angel in side holsters and all sorts of knives, all concealed in a long leather coat (red, yay!).  There’s a lot of fighting, not a lot of romancing, but there are some especially nice moments at the end; the last chapter is hilarious.  What hung me up was believing that Sasha would settle for the Jay she knew before she went to Hell for him: she described him as Clark Kent and she kept waiting for Superman to come out and didn’t describe their sex life all that passionately.  I still enjoyed it for the action and humor.

My Rating: B

Freeze Line is the final story and it’s from Moira Rogers.  I really, really wish this not only had been given a different collection, but also more space (a whole book!).  There were so many things I wanted to know that would have made this story work and I was frustrated that I didn’t get them.  Shane is a werewolf who lives alone above the freeze line, far from others of his kind; Nadia is a witch, kidnapped from her tribe below the freeze line by scientists.  Her powers sapped from the cold and being unable to draw strength from the frozen earth, she needs Shane to get her closer to home and he agrees, but only will take her so far.  They have an attraction to each other, but he has some huge fears to conquer before they can have a relationship.

This is a post-apocalyptic story and off the bat, I wish I knew what the apocalypse was.  I knew there were witches, werewolves and humans in there (other shapeshifters too, I believe), and that the witches were generally considered evil, they had tribes that fought and that was mostly it.  There was a freeze line, the werewolves were less controlled near it which was why Shane refused to live close to it, the witches lived under it because they drew power from the earth and couldn’t feel it under the cold, but why were the werewolves out of control near and under the freeze line?  What happened to the scientists who kidnapped Nadia?  How did she get kidnapped in the first place if she’s a warrior?

Beyond all of that, this really had the makings of a good story.  Shane and Nadia were both interesting people; I didn’t feel like their relationship needed to be rushed, I enjoyed the way the two of them talked to each other and that Shane needed to deal with his past before he could handle Nadia.  I liked her intensity and that the closer she got to the freeze line, the more the warrior in her came out.  If anything, the ending made me crabbier, because I wanted so much more for the beginning.

My Rating: C

As the title says, this isn’t so much a “Christmas” book as a it is a winter-themed set; while Christmas figures into the first two stories, it isn’t necessarily thefocus.  I still have a difficult time fitting the third story in, but it may very well fit the paranormal bill for others.  The writing team that makes up Moira Rogers has me sold on their other stories, so maybe this is just a temporary lapse in my taste.

My Overall Rating: B

Barbara

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