Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: Holiday for Two by Maggie Robinson and Elyssa Patrick (Contemporary)


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This is two firsts for Love Saves the World: my first contemporary review and my first anthology review.

When Maggie Robinson mentioned she was releasing a Christmas story, I was intrigued. Then she added that it would be a contemporary and that really, really piqued my curiosity (I even asked her about it in her feature on my blog). And, finally, when she mentioned that she would be writing about an English viscount working in America, that sealed the deal -- I knew I needed to read this story.

Holiday for Two also gave me the chance to read a new author, Elyssa Patrick (who is one of Maggie's critique partners).

So, here goes:

All Through the Night by Maggie Robinson
The word "Kindle" in the first few pages of this novella was jarring to me and reminded me that I was no longer reading a historical romance. ^_^

The two novellas have the same set-up: snowbound on Christmas Eve. In this case, it's Carrie, the personal assistant to a world-famous mystery writer and Griffin, an honest-to-goodness viscount and nephew of said writer. Carrie's quirky and brash (and very American) and Griffin is very reserved, staid (and very British) -- but, missing the last ferry and a snowstorm forces this unlikely pairing to break into a nearby carriage house to seek shelter.

I liked the contrast between the hero and heroine and the witty banter that results from their differences. (Though, I felt it stereotyped each culture just a little, little bit.) The author's challenge was how to get these two strangers in a romantic situation in such a short period of time (overnight) and she accomplishes this through a fantasy story weaved by the two: of how they would have met if they had been in England instead of the US.

"I haven't seen you here before, have I?" I thought I knew all the pretty girls in the village."

She set her cup down with a splash. "Oh, really, just no. None of this pretty girl business. And don't ask what's my sign. You're being cheesy."

Griffin brushed his hair back. He did have that floppy High Grant hair thing going on. "We are at the Cheese and Plunder. Well, what should I say?"
- p. 61

I LOVED that story -- and wished it was longer because it left me breathless how Griffin would've "picked up" Carrie at the pub in his town. I also enjoyed the self-reference to romance novels as well, how Carrie kept thinking of all the novels she read and how Griffin reminded her a bit of Mr. Darcy.

Lastly, how Robinson chose to end her novella was very well done: a great balance of Christmas magic as well as modern reality. ^_^

While It Was Snowing by Elyssa Patrick
As I said, Elyssa Patrick is a new-to-me author but, I will tell you now, the minute Elyssa decides to publish a historical romance, I will be first in line to pre-order a copy. She's a fun, quirky writer and I'm definitely curious how her vision, voice, and characters would translate to a historical setting.

I love Felicity! The author captures her spark so well! I laughed so hard at her first attempt at seducing Harry -- and Harry was endearing with all of his insecurities. Felicity and Harry are childhood friends who yearn to take their relationship to the next level. Felicity has a plan and Harry has his worries -- trapped in a cabin during a snowstorm, our hero and heroine need to work through the transitional/awkward phase as they tentatively move from friends to lovers.

There's a very real conversation that happens between the two friends and it's at once painful and wonderful how they work through their issues and Harry finally figures out his way into Felicity's heart.

Just like that they were kissing.

A touch of lips, a hello. An introduction. Pleased to make your acquaintance. May I kiss you some more? It was new, this sensation. Feeling her soft, full mouth on his. How she did the impossible and tasted better than candy, better than apple pie with drizzled sea-salt caramel sauce. How suddenly he wasn't afraid anymore of the unknown because this was Felicity -- and kissing her was everything he had hoped for and more.
- p. 148

As a whole, both novellas were very enjoyable to read and are great introductions to these two authors' writing styles. Holiday for Two is a recommended read for this Christmas Season and even during the summer, when it is sweltering hot.

To find out more about Maggie Robinson and her books, click below:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

To find out more about Elyssa Patrick and her books, click below:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Disclosure: I received this copy from Maggie Robinson. (Maggie wasn't expecting me to review it because it is contemporary, but I did. Thank you, Maggie and Elyssa!) And, yes, this is an honest review.

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