Kiss The Year Goodbye by Brenda L. Thomas, Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker, Daaimah S. Poole and Crystal Lacey Winslow

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Wendy:  If there is one thing the holiday season guarantees, it is the frenzied speculation over what was hot and was not from the previous months, what can’t be missed entering the new year and what, absolutely, should not be repeated. This is true in movies, music, fashion, and, naturally, books. In the case of Kiss The Year Goodbye, a new anthology featuring novellas by four authors, the question might not be hot or not, but: What could have been?

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The Midnight Work by Kassandra Sims

themidnightwork.jpgHelenKay:  Holiday romances usually center on heart-warming tales about finding and nurturing love.  Here, holiday romance is about killing, mass murder and historical injustice.  With The Midnight Work Kassandra Sims has created a vampire tale light on romance but rich in historical information.  The result is a romance that is less about the holidays and less about romance, than it is about incidents that some may find more in tune with fantasy, or even horror, novels.

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Scenes From A Holiday Anthology by Lauri Graff, Caren Lissner and Melanie Murray

scenesfromaholiday.jpgWendy:From Wal-Mart to the White House this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/New Year’s season has been marked by the “Happy Holidays” v. “Merry Christmas” debate. Red Dress Ink’s seasonal offering, Scenes from a Holiday neatly sidesteps the issue by presenting an anthology that is not solely devoted to any one celebration. Rather, each novella focuses on a particular holiday, hopping from Hanukkah, to New Year’s Eve, to Christmas. The concept is fresh and exciting. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for much of the execution.

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In The Spirit Of…Christmas – Linda Goodnight

inthespiritofchristmas.jpg Sometimes I have the strangest luck – this month, I applied my usual careful consideration to a range of titles to review*, only to end up with two books so eerily similar that my first draft of this review would have worked for either one.

Not good, not good at all. Especially when I consider that these books didn’t have much to recommend them in the first place.

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Jenna Lawrence

themostwonderfultimeoftheyear.jpgHelenKay:  In contemporary romance novels a hero often holds a law enforcement job.  Whether he works for the DEA, CIA, FBI, police or any branch of the military, many times the hero is honest, strong and carrying a gun.  Like its contemporary counterpart, the historical hero is often based on a factual job – The Pinkerton Man.  Allan Pinkerton, considered the first private detective and a man of the utmost integrity, ran the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  He sent his men out across the country to solve crimes, hunt down the bad guys and sometimes take on the unfavorable role of squashing union activities.  The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year focuses on one of these upstanding men.  One who is lying to protect his cover.

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The Secret Life Of Mrs. Claus by Carly Alexander

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Wendy:  Christmas is a time of year when, as a nation, a culture, a people, we willingly and gleefully suspend our disbelief.  A credible tale really isn’t even required.  Take for example that man in red who lives in the most inhospitable place in the world, surrounded by toy-making halflings, who chooses as his mode of transportation a flying reindeer powered ragtop.  If those circumstances are dismissible, then his ability to cover the world in a single night is ten steps beyond implausible, and his shimmying down chimneys actionable.  And yet, we don’t simply believe, we fight to believe.

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