Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Love, Christmas - Holiday stories that will put a song in your heart! by Alicia Street, Donna Fasano, and Mimi Barbour

Editor's note: We're past Thanksgiving (okay, only in Canada) and everyone knows what that means, right? If you like romance combined with stories that have a Christmas tie-in this box set of novellas with contributions from 20 different authors might be just the ticket. When ?wazithinkin saw this had contributions from some of her favorite authors she insisted on reading them all. So she'll be reviewing three or four novellas each week until she gets through them all. Today is the first batch. At the introductory price, spotting just one that interests you is enough to justify grabbing the set.

Genre: Romance/Christmas/Box set


Put a song in your heart with 20 all-new Christmas Romances from NY Times, USA Today, and national best-selling authors. Each brand-new title is inspired by a Christmas carol and will lift your spirits and bring on the holiday cheer.”

O Christmas Tree by Alicia Street - Can Piper convince Cody to let go of his painful past and embrace the hope of Christmas and possibly love?”

Grown Up Christmas List by Donna Fasano - All she wants for Christmas is to feel safe... then she meets her guardian angel.”

Frosty the Snowman by Mimi Barbour - Stranded in an Alaskan snowstorm, strangers Hali and Terry are forced to rely on each other for survival.”


Alicia Street is a USA TODAY bestselling author and Daphne Award-winner often writing in collaboration with her husband, Roy, as well as on solo projects. She spent many years as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. A compulsive reader of every genre, she also loves watching old black-and-white movies and inventing new recipes for soups.

You can visit her at her website or friend her on Facebook.”

Donna Fasano is a multi-award winning author whose accolades include “a two-time winner of Best Romance of the Year given by BigAl's Books & Pals Review Blog. Her books have sold 4 million copies worldwide and have been published in two dozen languages. Her novels have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #1.”

You can visit her at her website, and Facebook.

Mimi Barbour is a “New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon best-selling author who's sold over 500,000 copies of her books world-wide. “She says, “My husband is supportive and drags me out to feed me and plans occasional forays into the outside world… Gardening lights my inner fires, and I need no urging to get out into the yard when the weather dictates. I do have many hobbies such as quilting, crocheting, but alas – no time.”

Visit Ms. Barbour’s website to find out about her many books and series or follow her on Facebook.


Since this boxed set includes twenty novellas, I am going to review them in small groups. In this first group I'm reviewing novellas by Alicia Street (O Christmas Tree), Donna Fasano (Grown Up Christmas List), and Mimi Barbour (Frosty the Snowman) because I have read and enjoyed their stories before.

O Christmas Tree by Alicia Street:

This is a wonderfully unique story of two souls running from their past. Piper is trying to come to grips with her past professionally by making steps to start her new business, Catalyst Cat Café, but is having issues moving forward on a personal emotional level. That is until she meets Cody Campbell, who is running from his devastatingly painful past and teenaged daughter, Clarissa.

Piper was easy to relate to and like from the beginning, so was the angst ridden teenage Clarissa. Piper wins Clarissa’s heart early by hiring her to work with the cats at her upscale shelter. As a result Clarissa begins to hone her matchmaking skills on her dad and Piper. This is a heartwarming journey of introspection that will leave a smile on your face as Piper and Cody heal their broken lives and open themselves to the possibilities of love. And of course the magic of Christmas tree is at the center of this healing process.

Grown Up Christmas List by Donna Fasano:

This story is set in Ocean City, Maryland and part of Ms. Fasano’s An Ocean City Broardwalk Series, though indirectly connected by location only. When we first meet Dina Griffin the reader is given the impression she is homeless. This is not the case. However she is in hiding. I love the way Ms. Fasano lays out her stories to draw the reader in. The story arc is realistic with an air of mystery. The dialogue between the characters is rational and engaging. Dina tries to be as honest as she can without revealing too much about herself for her own protection. She has good reason to be leery of Officer Gav Thomas and, handsome as he may be, he is still an officer of the law.

The plot unwinds at a nice pace as Gav helps Dina get a job at The Sunshine Café and engages Dina in a project he has at work gathering donations for the annual holiday toy drive. Even as Dina grows more comfortable with Gav, she’s reluctant to share her secret. With Gav’s patience and persistence he’s able to slowly get past some of Dina’s walls. Unfortunately, Gav happens to be out of town when the plot takes a nasty turn on Christmas Eve and Dina considers running again.

I think everyone will find this Christmas addition to An Ocean City Boardwalk Series heartfelt with some humorous delights.

Frosty the Snowman by Mimi Barbour:

This story is book four in Ms. Barbour’s Holiday Heartwarmer Series. When a small Cessna has to make a forced landing during a freak snowstorm in northern Alaska wilderness, Terry Carlton, the pilot, and Hali Gibson, reluctant passenger, have to go into survival mode.

Hali is on a mission to deliver her cousin’s ten week-old Samoyed puppy to his new owner in Juneau, Alaska. Having yearned to visit this area of the country she sees this as the perfect opportunity to spend Christmas closer to Mother Nature in the far north. After getting bumped off the final leg of her trip she is able to find passage on a private aircraft into Juneau.

Terry is a confirmed bachelor and an introvert who purposely lives miles from town to enjoy his privacy. After barely being able to land the plane on a small frozen lake he must now find a way for them to survive the blizzard. Will he be able to count on this red-headed woman from the big city to listen to him and follow his orders? Is this even a challenge he is up to with a raging infected wound on his arm? He is about to find out.

Frosty the Snowman is an adorable story that stole my heart. Not only are Hali and Terry pushed to their limits trying to survive but they have to deal with a bundle of energy covered in white fur. It doesn’t take too long for Hali to whittle away Terry’s macho-man attitude with her can do spirit and fortitude. The surprise twist at the end was priceless and totally caught me off guard. This story will leave a smile in your heart and on your face.

Buy now from:    Amazon US     Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

O Christmas Tree by Alicia Street: I found a small number of proofing issues.

Grown Up Christmas List by Donna Fasano: No significant issues.

Frosty the Snowman by Mimi Barbour: No significant issues.

Rating: O Christmas Tree by Alicia Street: ***** Five Stars

Rating: Grown Up Christmas List by Donna Fasano: ***** Five Stars

Rating: Frosty the Snowman by Mimi Barbour: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 375-400,000 words for the full set. Each story is novella size, 20,000 words or slightly less.


Alicia Street said...

Thanks so much for reviewing our boxed set and for "getting" my novella exactly as I intended it. I also appreciate your noting the proofing slips. I will fix them and upload a new file asap.

?wazithinkin said...

Thanks for dropping in and commenting, Ms. Street. I have enjoyed your stories before, so I was pretty sure I wouldn't be disappointed. The Christmas tree memories were special to me. Thank you for this story.

Donna Fasano said...

Thank you for reviewing Love, Christmas! Books and Pals is such a support to Indie Authors!

Joan Reeves said...

Thank you for reviewing 3 of the novellas in our Love, Christmas Romance Collection. The 3 authors whose work you reviewed are wonderful storytellers!

Katy Walters said...

I am so grateful for your lovely review of novellas in Love Christmas.

jbiggar said...

Thank you for sharing our holiday set with your readers!

?wazithinkin said...

I want to thank you all for dropping in and commenting, Ms. Fasano, Ms. Reeves, Ms. Walters, and Ms. Biggar. I will be reviewing all of the novellas in small groups and posting reviews, in no particular order, once a week until I make it through this huge boxed set. So, please watch for future reviews.

I believe Monday A.M. is already scheduled to post another small group of reviews for Love, Christmas. I am enjoying these novellas.

Mimi Barbour said...

I wanted to let you know that I just read your review and I was thrilled. I loved writing about Frosty and was delighted that you enjoyed the story too. :-)

?wazithinkin said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Ms. Barbour. I loved the twist at the end of Frosty the Snowman.