Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Feature Review: "Holiday Brides," By Amethyst/Rochon/Worth

By Tracy Montoya, RBTB Contributing Editor

Everyone has their holiday traditions, and here are some of mine: decorating the tree the minute Thanksgiving is over, choking down and loving my grandmother’s hard-as-a-rock Christmas bread, and indulging in a holiday-themed romance novel as a reward for finishing my shopping.

This year’s book is “Holiday Brides,” an anthology from Farrah Rochon, Stefanie Worth, and Jewel Amethyst that doesn’t disappoint. The authors deliver a holiday confection as warm and satisfying as a cup of hot chocolate after a day in the snow.

Jewel Amethyst’s “From SKB with Love” is as much of a love letter to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts as it is a poignant love story. Five years ago, Venetta David lost her childhood sweetheart to leukemia, and she’s still mired in grief. In an attempt to help her get her groove back, a group of friends whisks her from New York to St. Kitts for Christmas, where she has a brief flirtation with a gorgeous stranger she calls “the phantom of the beach.” She’s pretty sure she’ll never see him again, but fate has other plans.

When Sean Kevin Bryan—whose initials are also cleverly the St. Kitts airport code—shows up at an island dinner party she’s attending, sparks fly. But Venetta isn’t sure she’s ready to love again, especially since she knows they’ll have to face the challenge of a long-distance relationship once she leaves both SKBs.

Farrah Rochon shows off her flair for snappy dialogue and jump-off-the-page characterization in “No Ordinary Girl.” When Tyson Crawford broke up with Kemah Griffin via text message, her head wrote him off for good—but her heart mourned the fact that she’d been in love with the jerk.

Her heart also couldn’t let her walk away from him completely. He’s the director of the community center for which she volunteers, teaching dance to underprivileged children in New Orleans. She won’t leave the kids because of a bruised ego, especially when a lonely looking girl who reminds her of herself as a child starts hanging around the center’s front gates.

As she helps plan the center’s annual Kwanzaa ceremony, Kemah’s stunned when Tyson starts turning his charm level up to smoldering. She’d like nothing better than to fall back into his arms, but how far can she really trust a man who crushed her emotions with a Blackberry?

Finally, Stefanie Worth delivers “,” a sexy and fabulously fun take on “It’s a Wonderful Life,” complete with two angels who need to earn their wings by persuading two jaded professionals that they belong together.

Brenna Campbell seems to have it all: a high-powered job, a great group of friends, and excellent clothes. But as the holidays approach, the fact that she doesn’t have a gorgeous man waiting under her tree leaves her feeling melancholy.

She tries online dating, with disastrous results, and soon realizes that her handsome coworker Evan Shephard might be just what Santa ordered. Unfortunately, she finds herself downsized out of a job shortly after that revelation.

Evan’s there to offer a supportive arm—and the casual flirtation they’d shared in the office quickly turns hot. But Brenna’s luck continues to go south. The Morning After, he doesn’t call, he doesn’t write, and he mildly freaks out when they run into each other at a party. It doesn’t take long for strong-willed Brenna to walk away. Which leaves wingless angels Kay and Jay frantically trying to figure out how to make these two stubborn souls realize they’re meant to be.

By turns funny, steamy, and sigh-worthy, “Holiday Brides” is the perfect antidote to the frenzied crush of last-minute shoppers at the mall. So take out that credit card one more time and …

Buy the book.

Do you like to read holiday-themed books? What are some of your favorites? And while we’re at it, what’s your number-one favorite holiday film or TV show?
Exclusive: Laura Kinsale kicks off her "Lessons in French" cyber tour here at RBTB Jan 6! Win a copy of the read that's well worth the 5-year wait, and check out Laura's hot-button topic.
TOMORROW/DEC. 24: Roxanne St. Claire rocks her
Annual Day Before Christmas Visit!

Dec 24 - Jan 3: RBTB Winter Staycation! The RBTB team takes time off to hang w/our families and looks forward to hanging w/you in the New Year!


amy kennedy said...

Tracy, awesome review -- all these stories sound great.

I do like to read holiday themed books, for the same reason I like holiday movies, they help me sloooow down during this busy time and remind me of the good things.

My favorite movie(s) are: "Its A Wonderful Life," and "A Christmas Story." My holidays are not complete without these two movies...of course, I also love to see "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."

Man, I have a lot of favorites...

The Reading Frenzy said...

Thanks Tracy, I love Holiday themed books and my favorite is the one I happen to be reading at the time. Nothing puts me in a holiday mood faster than reading a holiday romance wether it be Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day etc.

Farrah Rochon said...

Thanks for the fabulous review, Tracy! I'm so happy you enjoyed our stories.

I love this time of year. In addition to HOLIDAY BRIDES, I also read Robyn Carr's story in an anthology she had with Debbie Macomber. It was connected to her Virgin River series, which I just adore.

As for favorite Christmas movies...A Christmas Story, hands down. I look forward to TNT's 24-hour marathon every year. :)

Happy holidays, all!


Unknown said...

Amy, I HAVE to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" at Christmas! My brother gave me "The Holiday" last year, and I really like that one, too. I have never seen the Mr. Magoo Xmas Carol--too funny! Used to love him back in the day.

Unknown said...

Deb, did you read any good ones this season?

Unknown said...

Farrah, glad you could stop by! I don't think I've ever seen A Christmas Story in one sitting--always in bits and pieces thanks to the marathon. We also usually end up watching the Star Wars trilogy, since that tends to come on back-to-back over Christmas, too!

Unknown said...

Love holiday books. I will read my new ones the get older ones out and read them again.

The Reading Frenzy said...

Yes I did, All I want for Christmas is Big Blue Eyes by Claire Ashgrove, A Creed Country Christmas by Linda Lael Miller, A Home for Christmas by Deborah Grace Staley, Home for Christmas by Andrew Greeley
All good reads

amy kennedy said...

Tracy, Mr Magoo' so funny, haven't seen it in a long time, but my sister and I sing the songs from it all the time -- kinda scary.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Great review, Tracy! I'm particularly interested in Farrah Rochon's novella - how can you pull off a hero who dumps the heroine via text message?! Sounds like fun.

I never read that many holiday-themed books, but in the last year or so I'm beginning to appreciate their charms.

This sounds like a good one.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buona sera, Bellas! Thanks, Tracy! I'm dying to read this anthology, and I don't care if I have to wait til after Christmas! You've so made me interested in ea couple's stories; they seem so w/the times. And I suspect using that term makes me decidedly not with them, doesn't it?

Oh, and at dinner last night my husband said he'd heard people were dumping e other by text, and since i'd read this feature, i was able to act like i'd known that (horrid fact) all along. : )

I'm glad you were ab le to give us one more read to get us in the holiday spirit 'just under the wire.' grazie!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

oh, and i'm just back from a short family trip with terrible Inet connection. I know, I shouldn't have been thinking about it, b ut i did want to stop in yesterday and Mon to say hi!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Amy, the Grinch always is my fave, as well as the book. I still have acopy my oldest bro gave me when I was in middle school. managed to keep my kids' paws off of it. And,yeah, the christmas story rocks. We laughed because our acctnts sent us a card this year w/a pick of the kid w/his tongue on the pole that said "Thanks for sticking with us this year." We were like, who knew our accountants were such wild men?

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi Farrah!!!!!! Congrats on this anthology! Tracy raved to me about your story. :) I din't know about this marathon? Where have I been? oh. reading romance. that's right. so glad you popped by.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

deb, i've just this year gotten into the holiday romances, so i'm going to make sure i keep up the tradition now. but we've got to get creative. any romance w/a hero named Liam or Roarke, for instance, could be for St Pat's, right? And there easilhy could be many others. Like, construction-worker eroms for Labor day? Are there lumber-jack romances? Cause I'm thinking...Arbor Day!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

awesome, virginia! somebody turned me on to their fave from an anthology from a long time ago. I think it was orannia. And the story's about a chef. I can see the cover, but can't remember the name. I know, shocker.

Becke Davis said...

I'm working my way through a stack of holiday-themed books but I missed this one. Looks like I'll have to add it to my shopping cart when I go pick up A Highlander Christmas. Or maybe I should wait to see what other books are reviewed here this week!

Vanessa Kelly said...

Love, love, love A Christmas Story. It's so damn funny and sweet. When the Bumpus's dogs steal the turkey...priceless!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Becke, what you've gotta do is get ready for Rocki St Claire's Annual Visit tomorrow! She's sharing her husband's famous spicy shrimp recipe! Did you know he's Italian?!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I dunno, nessa, the Leg Lamp is pretty popular round our house...

The Reading Frenzy said...

Ooh I'm ready to Rock with Rocki tomorrow.

amy kennedy said...

I have toyed with the idea of actually buying the leg lamp...I know!

Maybe that's why I love the Grinch so much, because it was my fave as a kid.

Becke, go to the book store and then the grocery store for the spicy shrimp, can't wait for that recipe.

I am donedonedone with buying presents -- as I should be. Now, late night baking with wine. That sounds like a good name for a cooking show or an intervention.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Michelle, the Leg Lamp is awesome. It turns the whole neighborhood into one big sex bomb.

Unknown said...


Thanks for the fab review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the stories. As the paranormal writer of the crew, I can't help but love the magic that accompanies the holidays.

Maybe that's why I'm a fan of movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Meet Me in St. Louis." I'd say my contemporary fave is "The Preacher's Wife" with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington. But this year I haven't seen ANY of those because the kids have taken over the TV with repeat showings of Elf and The Santa Clause. I suppose it could be worse, huh? lol

Merry Christmas!

maered said...

Great review!

I love holiday themed books! The best, IMO, is Falling from Grace by Jill Barnett. It's an anthology - and it's so funny and charming. A great read.

As for movies - I love Miracle on 34th St. I've seen it loads of times and it never gets old!

maered said...

Sorry, forgot to add my contact info.