by Laurie London, Michele Hauf , Caridad Piñeiro, Alexis Morgan
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Harlequin
ARC Courtesy of NetGalley
All they want for Christmas is you…Goodreads
It's the time of year for twinkling lights on trees and kisses under the mistletoe. Yet the passing of another year means nothing to the stunning immortals who lurk in the shadows of the new-fallen snow.
And they don't care if you've been naughty or nice.
Let four fanged lovers open your eyes to a passion you never dared to imagine. After all, there's no place like home for the holidays—and these dazzling vampires can't wait for an invitation.
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1) Enchanted By Blood by Laurie London
Trace Westfalen's family has held a seat on the vampire council almost from its inception centuries ago. A deathbed promise made to his father, Trace has stepped down as a guardian to take his father's seat on the governing council. Though the council is dragging its feet on taking the final vote, the transfer from parent to child is just a formality. As Trace makes changes in his life to prepare for his new role on the council, he must now set an example for their people and must not forget that a relationship with humans is frowned upon, especially for a councilperson. When Trace feels that Charlotte Grant is in danger and comes to her rescue, he finds himself, once again, skirting the line between the roles he must play and the one his heart wants. Unbeknown to Charlotte, the handsome stranger who just saved her life, the stranger she feels safe with and longs for, is really no stranger at all. Trace was forced to wipe her memory one year ago when she witnessed an unspeakable act by his cousin and found out the truth of what he was. It was duty first, yet she has lived in his heart ever since. Charlotte is unaware of the relationship they once had and Trace is unable to watch her drive off again. Can he keep her safe and keep his feelings at bay while he fulfills his obligations to the council? Or, will the amazing woman that Charlotte is, show him what matters most?
I really enjoyed this story so much so, that I wish these two would have had their own full length book. Trace's character was sexy and powerful and I loved watching him battle his emotions when it came to Charlotte. I enjoyed Charlotte too, though I wish at times she was a little more emotional. When she found the truth out about Trace, I really wanted more from her, shock, denial and anger. It almost seemed like she was too accepting and I wanted Trace to grovel for taking the choice away when he wiped her memories.
I usually steer clear of anthologies, being there is just not enough pages and character development. The few anthologies I pick up are usually a part of a series I'm following and I try really hard not to be disappointed. I wasn't as disappointed as I usually am with this story, due to the fact that I love Laurie London's writing and this world she created. Though I can't help but feel like it could have been so much more. There was a fight scene in the beginning when Trace first saved Charlotte that I wish as the reader, I could have been there for it, instead we came to Trace after the fight was over. When Charlotte was taken and near her death, I felt cheated that I was with Trace searching for her and not with Charlotte herself. I really wanted her point of view in those few moments before Trace crashed in. Just a couple of things that I think could have added so much more to this story. Regardless, I still really enjoyed this
Enchanted By Blood is the first story in this book and is part of her Sweetblood series, which includes Bonded By Blood, Embraced By Blood and Hidden By Blood; an e-novella. I have read the first book, Bonded By Blood, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Though this story comes later on in the series and I have some catching up to do, I had no problem keeping up with this story and feel like it could easily be read as a standalone, or if you're new to Laurie London and just want a taste of her writing. You can easily jump into this story and not feel lost, though we do get a few glimpses of past characters that make short appearances and another character, Jackson, whose book is slated to come out next. If you're familiar with this series, you'll recognize the names and references of those past characters, if you're not familiar, it's easy to ignore and focus on the hero and heroine of this short story.
2) Monster's Don't Do Christmas by Michele Hauf
Daniel Harrison used to have the nickname Killer on Wall Street. In fact, Daniel Harrison used to have a lot of things. He used to have a bachelor pad, he used to be an investor on Wall Street, and he used to be Human. That all changed one year ago when he was attacked by vampires on the subway. Left for dead, and unable to deal with the blood lust that haunted his days, Daniel fed and became a monster. Content on making it through the day, Daniel's life seemed to have no meaning. Until the day Olivia Andorata stumbled into it. She saw him being beaten up by two werewolves and came to his aid. Humiliated at being saved by a girl, Daniel is infuriated buy intrigued with Olivia as she showed no fear and did not seem afraid when she glimpsed what he is. Olivia invites him into her home so she could tend to his wounds, but when she thinks she's using him to master her fear of taking risks, Olivia soon sees the man he is on the inside and comes to term with the fact this vampire has her heart. Given Olivia's own monstrous persona, these two lean on each other for the life they both want but thought was out of reach.
Michele Hauf is a new to me author and though I wanted to like this story, I really struggled through it. I was really intrigued with Daniel's character, he had that bad boy persona I loved so much, yet at the same time he had this inner goodness that just shone through. Olivia on the other had given me pause. She referred to herself as a monster and considered herself an even bigger monster that Daniel. I was expecting her to be something horrible, but it turns out Olivia is an up and coming star- A singer who has been said to be the next Celine Dion. I can see how her life could taken on Monstrous proportions or how on stage, her persona could take over, but I kept missing her point on how she figured she was more of a monster than Daniel, when he was fighting not to give into his blood lust and kill. Olivia seemed so unhappy up to the point she met Daniel. I just felt she needed a little more backbone and I wanted her to present Daniel with more of a challenge. Overall, this story was just OK for me. I had a hard time getting into it and I'm still not sure it it was the writing or just the characters I felt a disconnect with.
3) When Harold Angels Sing by Caridad Pinero
One year ago on Christmas Even Damien lost his love Angelina for the second time. Holding out hope that she will come to him yet again, Damien swears to not fail her again. One century ago, his failures had killed her. Damien was a ship captain before he lost his mortal life; turned by his nemesis and rum runner Pedro Ramirez. The vampire captain had killed his Angelina twice. What Damien didn't know was there was a fight going on for his eternal soul. Ramirez is working for Satan and has vowed to vanquish the last shreds of decency in Damien's soul. The Archangel Raphael has also seen something in Damien. Damien has goodness despite a harsh life and Raphael wants so much more for him, if he could only prove himself worthy. Angelina was sent down to be his guardian, but she broke the first rule of never falling in love with an assignment. Angels were not meant to love humans, much less demons. As Angelina is sent down one last time, to fix what she had done when she wasn't to interfere, she wasn't prepared for the lessons she must learn as well. As these to relive their past through visions, they also learn truths about themselves and each other and rekindle their love.
This was another first for me as I have yet to read anything by Caridad Pinero. I enjoyed this story and it brought me the Christmas spirit all the way in June :) It was a beautiful story of second chances and I enjoyed seeing Damien realize his love for Angelina. These to characters had a forbidden love and that’s something I love reading about. Being that I enjoyed these two characters, I wish they had more of a story. There was so much potential here. I would have loved to have been there when Damien first met Angelina, even the second time; I would have loved to have been there when he realized she was back. I think it would have given me more of a connection to them and their relationship and all they endured. The storyline of Raphael and of Angelina in heaven, ugh there was so much potential there as well! I would have loved to have seen Angelina watching over Daniel and realizing she was already falling in love with him and the fact that Raphael made her wait a century till she could return, thinking it would rid her of her feelings. I can't help but think of all that could have been in this story. Overall, I can't complain too much because I enjoyed this story and it left a smile on my face.
4) All I want For Christmas by Alexis Morgan
Eagan McHale is undercover. Several young teenagers have been reported missing and vampires are suspected as several bodies have surfaced. Rumors of vampires offering money for blood have surfaced. It's Eagan's job to find who is responsible and put a stop to it. Eagan was born a vampire and found it easy to blend into the shadows. On stakeout and eying the diner across the way, Eagan becomes fascinated with the owner and her easy smiles. Della Breit is shocked to see the guy she had been staring at across the street come into her diner. Though he seems to have put up a wall and gives off a 'back off" vibe, he's there to help her when two teenagers try to rob her. Eagan becomes a hero in Della's eyes and as he spends more time at the diner to blend in to do his Job and keep an eye on a particular teenager, it becomes harder for him to keep distance between himself and Della, even harder after they share a kiss under the mistletoe. Eagan doesn’t want to bring Della into the darkness of his world, but he may be unaware of how accepting Della can be.
This was a really fun, cute story. Another new to me author and I find myself intrigued with Alexis Morgan's writing. I definitely didn't fall in love with this story, but I enjoyed it enough to look it up and see if she has written any more or if this was part of a series. I was happy to find out that Alexis Morgan does have a Vampire series, but being new to her work, I have no idea how connected her Vampire series are. I did notice in this story, Eagan had a limp in his leg and it has me wondering what that was due to. Is it something that happened in a past book? Something to look into? Eagan was a great character, he seemed like an aloof character, and sort of a loner and I liked seeing how his attraction to Della made the real Eagan come out. Again, I would have loved a back story with both characters. Eagan seemed troubled and Della felt like she was dealing with the loss of her mother, but the story didn't delve into any of that. The supporting cast has me intrigued as well. Eagan's captain was great and I would have loved to have seen more of Luna, Della's friend and were. Della's cook was also a shifter, hmmm has me thinking of more possible story lines :)