Tag: Rhonda Nelson

Guest Review: Jingle Spells by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair, and Andrea Laurence

Posted December 30, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

jingle spellsJen’s review of Jingle Spells by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair, and Andrea Laurence

To protect Christmas, this family of wizards will have to use a whole different kind of magic…

Part of the Winter clan, the Evergreen family is considered magical nobility. While Evergreen Industries in picturesque Gingerbread, Colorado, might look like an ordinary office building, this is where the magic of Christmas unfolds. Above Santa’s workshop, the Evergreens hold court, manage Christmas and, sometimes against their will and better judgment, fall in love. When it comes to love, the Evergreens know that sometimes you have to play a little naughty to get exactly what—or who—you want from Santa. Celebrate the holidays with Evergreen siblings Cole, Ethan, Dash and Belle in this enchanting collection from New York Times bestselling authors Vicki Lewis Thompson and Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair and Andrea Laurence.

The best way I can describe this book is that if the Hallmark Movie channel wrote a Christmas book, it would be Jingle Spells. Whether this is a good or bad thing probably depends on your feelings about Hallmark style holiday movies. Do you like quick little stories with lots of cute but not much substance? If not, this is not the book for you. In the right mood, I like a cutesy holiday movie, which was pretty much how I felt about Jingle Spells.

The book contains four connected novellas, each one about one of the Evergreen siblings: Cole, Ethan, Dash, and Belle. The Evergreens are wizards who live in Gingerbread, Colorado and are in charge of Christmas. They direct the elves who make the toys, manage the human Santa, keep the world believing in holiday magic, and just generally make Christmas happen.

Though the stories are all connected (and should be read in order), each story is complete and traces a couple. What did I like? The premise is kind of ridiculous, of course, but for some reason at Christmas that kind of ridiculous seems more whimsical than idiotic. It was funny to imagine what it would take to organize Christmas. The siblings have to deal with HR issues (with the elves), a Santa Claus going through a midlife crisis, public relations situations, etc. It’s an entertaining premise. The sex scenes were on the whole hot and interesting, which actually kind of amused me in a book with elves and Christmas cheer. Despite the fact that each story is written by a different author, I thought the style remained fairly consistent throughout. Each sibling did have their own “voice,” but I didn’t notice any inconsistencies or jarring changes between each section.

While I enjoyed myself, the stories are very, very light on world building and character development. Things that are seemingly a big deal, like how if people stop believing in Christmas the magic will die, are never explained, just mentioned. There are supposedly other wizard clans, but they don’t seem to interact or have much to do with the winter clan. There’s no real explanation for why the Evergreens are in charge of Christmas or how the current set up came to be. Each story ends VERY abruptly, too. In some of the stories (notably Cole’s and Ethan’s), there are some seemingly huge obstacles preventing the couple from being together, but then they’re just dispensed with in a couple pages of exceptionally weak explanation leading into a rushed, permanent HEA. I was left feeling frustrated that just when the stories were getting good, they were over (which is often the way I feel about Hallmark style movies, incidentally).

I really only wanted one or maybe two stories–more depth, less breadth. I’m not sure whose story I would like to see most. I was very interested in uber-smart, logical Cole and would have liked to hear more about him, but Ethan was a charmer and really adorable. Dash was sexy and intense and brought a much-needed edge to the book (if you can call a guy who makes Christmas ornaments and enchants the magical sleigh “edgy,” which you probably should not). I definitely thought Belle’s story was the weakest. As a character she was kind of melodramatic, her hero was forgettable, and the plot of that book was a bit too cliche and twee, which is saying a lot in a cutesy Christmas book. I would have preferred a longer story about any of the brothers rather than a rush through all of them like we get here.

I’m glad I read Jingle Spells, but like a made -for-TV holiday movie, the Christmas cheer is fun but fleeting.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin Nocturne. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Guest Review: The Closer by Rhonda Nelson

Posted October 27, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

The CloserJudith’s review of The Closer (Men Out of Uniform, #14) by Rhonda Nelson

Ranger Security has just assigned former ranger Griff Wicklow to protect a priceless diamond-encrusted bra. And while Griff has more experience removing bras than protecting them, his job is about to get even more complicated.  Because Temptation just walked in disguised as Jessalyn Rossi, the drop-dead delectable jeweler who is escorting the piece.

The attraction between them is immediate and irresistible. And Jessalyn’s learning that there’s a lot to be said about and done with a wickedly hot security agent like Griff.   But once the job is finished, will their bedroom antics come to a close, too?

I don’t know what there is about a military uniform but for most of us it is a delightful treat to see a fit and muscular man in uniform.  Major Griff Wicklow must have been quite a sight if the description of him in this short novel is to be believed.  It appears he didn’t do too bad one he was “out” of uniform either.  Thus, he is the subject of the 14th novel in this series for Harlequin, a series that began several years ago and seems to keep on delighting Ms Nelson’s fans.  Griff is a man who has left the military after donating one of his kidneys to his half brother, a teenager he had never met as a result of his father’s leaving Griff, his mother and his sister.  Now he is the newest security agent for a firm started by and made up of former Army Rangers and his first mission is the protection of an unusual piece of jewelry:  a bra that is encrusted with 2-1/2 million dollars’ worth of gems.  It is also the highlight of Jessalyn Rossi’s family legacy in jewelry creation and the reason she is escorting the piece along with Griff to the fashion show in New York where the unusual piece will be modeled for the world.

This is an entertaining story of two people, both of who are really one of a kind.  Jess is a woman who is prepared to do whatever it takes to simply be who she is, following her own muses in her art and chasing her own rainbows when it comes to doing what pleases her inner self.  Griff is a man who is a well-trained warrior, whose experience in battle and in peacetime have fashioned him into a man who prizes control above all things:  a man with a plan.  Yet when he meets Jessalyn he is immediately taken with her free spirit even though she wrecks havoc on all his carefully crafted schedules.  She is drawn to him because he is a gorgeous man.  She ultimately finds out that he is just as beautiful on the inside.

This is a very readable piece of writing and a very romantic story with its fair share of hot loving.  Yet the sex never overwhelms the story and the relationship never becomes more important than the reason that has brought Griff and Jess together.  There is a bit of suspense over whether a master thief will successfully steal the jewel-encrusted piece of lingerie.  That part of the plot simply adds spice to an already enjoyable story.  We all need this kind of lighthearted read between those heavy-duty novels that wring us out emotionally.  This one is pure fun.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place

This title is available from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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