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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: Holiday Hideout Anthology

Book cover of Holiday Hideout anthology Harlequin Christmas romances Vicki Lewis Thompson Jill Shalvis Julie Kenner
The premise for Harlequin's Holiday Hideout anthology is sweet and romantic, if a bit contrived.  In the woods near Lake Tahoe, sociology professors Ken and Jillian Vickers own a cottage that seems to have special romantic powers.  Visitors to the cottage often seem to find themselves falling in love during their stay there.  In order to prove whether the cabin does indeed foster romance, the Vickers open up their cottage to lovers throughout the Christmas season and watch what unfolds there.  As with any anthology, the stories are hit or miss, but two of the tales in Holiday Hideout made it worth the read.

“The Thanksgiving Fix” by Vicki Lewis Thompson – Neither Beth Tierney nor Mac McFarland want a relationship.  But when handyman Mac gets called in to fix a leak at the Vickers' cottage where Beth is spending Thanksgiving, sparks fly.  Everything in this story just moved too quickly.  Within a few hours of meeting each other, both Beth and Mac throw their previously held conceptions about marriage right out the window.  Perhaps if this were a full-length book Thompson would have been able to flesh out the story and add a conflict that would give the story some action outside the bedroom.  Without it, though, this story ended up being a complete dud. Grade: D+

“The Christmas Set-Up” by Jill Shalvis – This story works so well because the hero and heroine have known each other and worked together for years.  Jason and Zoe have always been secretly attracted to each other, but neither has ever acted on their feelings.  After they spend a Christmas Eve together snowbound in the cabin, though, their chemistry finally burns hot enough that neither can ignore it.  Jason and Zoe’s relationship never felt rushed – it was just that the timing was finally right for them to take the plunge.  Yes, the story glosses over some of the heavier details of Jason’s past, and it leaves the future more open than I’d have liked, but it was still an enjoyable holiday read. Rating: B+

"The New Year's Deal" by Julie Kenner – Cleo and Josh were college sweethearts until life and careers pulled them in different directions.  They'd promised, though, that they'd meet up again in five years to see if they could reconnect.  When they spend New Year's together at the Vickers' cabin, they both realize that they're meant to be together.  I wasn't thrilled with the total turnabout the heroine took in the final pages, and I thought the resolution was a bit too slick, but I still enjoyed the story.  Kenner is a new-to-me author, but I'm interested enough to seek out some of her other work.  Grade: B-

Rating: C+
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: November 1. 2011
Page Count: 317 pages
Sensuality: Hot

 Christmas romance novels

This is the first book I've completed for the Holiday Reading Challenge hosted  by Stella at Book Lovers Inc.  Interested in joining?  Sign up here.

Romance Novel Book Reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm (Christmas romance novels Harlequin)

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.


  1. These sound cute. I'm curious about the complete turnabout in the third one and the first one doesn't sound too hot. Great review.

  2. Sorry about the dud, but the others sounds pretty good. I think anthologies like this one work best around the holidays when you are looking for quick reads in between rounds of turkey. LOL

  3. Thank you for the detailed review Sarah! I also have this anthology on my holiday TBR pile, looking forward to see how I like it.

    ps. Due to our moving hosts the link to the Reading Challenge has changed to Could you please update it, otherwise newly interested people won't be able to find it. Thank you! :-)


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