Sunday, December 23, 2007

Babes in Toyland II Anthology

Babes in Toyland II has left me absolutely speechless. All I can say is: Hold on tight and get ready for a new favorite!!


Babes in Toyland II
Anderson, Barrack, Delight, Glisan,
Greenough, Hasker, Montgomery, Sinclair
Aspen Mountain Press
Available Now
Paranormal, Fantasy, Contemporary
All Heat Levels

Who Offed Holiday Spirit
Wayne Greenough

When Holiday Spirit, a man who Christmas just isn’t the same without, goes missing, it’s up to PI Thanet Blake to find him. If only he didn’t have a record of getting people “offed” in the process of his investigations!

Wayne Greenough brings us spunky, good-guy private detective Thanet Blake, a character as endearing as he is perceptive. This story probably has most wonderfully Christmas-y feel in the anthology, and you will love the warm feelings it brings you, as well as the smartly metaphorical storyline and characters. I loved Thanet Blake, and I will definitely be reading more of Wayne Greenough!

Christmas Ink
Skylar Sinclair

Christopher Kringle, son of you-know-who Kringle, has found a welcoming little town where he can do what he loves- practice medicine. But when he visited his parents this year, his father told him he needs to start looking for a wife so he can take over the family “business”. Chris is less than enthused, about having to leave his job as a doctor, and about being encouraged to settle down, when he doesn‘t even have a girlfriend! But when a motorcycle accident brings a woman named Candi Kane into his clinic, his life is changed forever.

Christmas Ink is a fun and magical story of fated mates who find each other by an unusual situation, with an even more unusual proof of being mates. Skylar Sinclair really knows how to put a fun dose of Christmas spirit in with magic and romance, creating one wonderfully fun time!

Devon Falls: Sticky Magic
Raine Delight

Devon Falls is a place where four founding (magical) families came to create a place where people of their kind would be safe. Since then, many love matches have been created in Devon Falls. Such is the story of Marc, who at the prodding of his intuitive mother, leaves Europe to visit his aunt in Devon Falls. Instead, he finds Jenna, the woman he has been waiting for centuries for, and gives her everything she’s wished for.

Devon Falls: Sticky Magic is a sizzling adventure about finding love when you least expect it. You definitely won’t be bored with this fast-paced steamy story. Raine Delight tops it all off with an ending that will have you craving the next story from Devon Falls!

Festival of Lights
Melissa Glisan

Jacob is studying to become a rabbi in a time when the Hellenistic leaders have outlawed the practice of Judaism. Fear for his son’s life prompts him to buy a slave to protect him- Saka, a fierce warrior woman from a strange and distant land. She more than proves her worth in the coming fight, as well as astounds Jacob as she works her way into his heart. But it seems too many obstacles get in their path and threaten their lives for them to be together. Jacob must trust that with God’s love and miracles, Saka can find her faith, and a place in the land of Judah.

Festival of Lights is by far one of the best novellas I have ever read. Melissa Glisan astounded me with her intelligent combination of history and fiction, creating a beautiful story and romance that is sure to touch you heart, no matter what your faith. Glisan’s retelling of the Miracle of the Oil is a religious fiction masterpiece, and a story that is going to become a holiday tradition for this reader.

Christmas Belle
Dawn Montgomery

After Belle, a Christmas fairy has an encounter at the spring with Roarke, the no-nonsense lawman fairy, she knows her heart is in big trouble! But when her denial of him accidentally triggers Christmas magic, she finds herself the cause of a magic that has touched the world of Fae and humans alike. It’s up to her and Roarke to figure out how to break the spell…

Christmas Belle is a fantastically magical story that I was entranced by, from start to finish. Everything about Dawn Montgomery’s story was wonderful- the writing, the plot, the characters, and those scintillating sex scenes! Belle and Roarke are two fairies that will work their way into your heart as surely as they do into each others, and you won’t want this story to end. Lucky for us readers, Montgomery ties the story up so nicely, it leaves you sighing with satisfaction.

Heart’s Desire
Michelle Hasker

The past few nights, Adamh has been noticing a woman walk down the street past the café he comes to. She is so beautiful, he would have noticed her even if two strange men weren’t following her. He does some digging and finds out she is Ainne O’Leary, owner of an antique shop. He continues to keep an eye on her, but it isn’t until the men finally make their move that Adamh comes to her rescue. The fact that she instantly knows that he is a vampire tells him that there is much more to Ainne than meets the eye. But what neither one of them know is that they are connected in a way they could have never imagined.

Heart’s Desire is about finding exactly that. This story was full of mystery and suspense, and you will love Michelle Hasker’s style of uncovering those mysteries! This story is a marvelous true paranormal, and a love story that any romance reader will adore.

The Game
Jeanne Barrack

Dave Harris craves his girlfriend Shari like no other, and wants to take their relationship to the next level. The only problem is that Shari has yet to open up to him- about anything. When he decides to ask her to come to his family’s cabin, she knows what’s coming and asks to invite along Dave’s best friend Frank, and her roommate Marianne to help relieve some of the pressure. It’s not that she doesn’t want more with Dave, it’s that she doesn’t want to ruin a good thing when she tells him about her secret. But Shari is not the only one with a secret, and with a winter storm that leaves the foursome stranded, Dave gets a lot more answers than he could have ever asked for!

The Game is a scorching contemporary ménage, with enough sexy secret confessions to make your head spin! Join these four friends as they go on a trip of emotional and sexual discovery, that will leave their lives forever changed. This story will have no trouble making you feel all hot under the collar. Jeanne Barrack writes the most delicious, kinkiest holiday story ever!

Gift of the Holly King
Maura Anderson

After being hit by a drunk driver, Kayleigh is left with all kinds of scars- both physical and emotional. Needing some independence from her parent‘s house where her mother has doted on her in these months since the wreck, she rents a big, beautiful ancient house. But the house provides little refuge from the uncertainty she feels from feeling like a different person, and from the constant pain she is in. Until one day, when she decides to take a short walk and feels drawn by the goddess to a clearing where three holly trees stand, with one much larger than the others. She can feel this is a sacred place, and feels the presence of what she believes to be a spirit. But little does she know, he is the Holly King, and she’s not the only one who feels drawn…

Gift of the Holly King is a phenomenal fantasy that gave ME a new fantasy! Maura Anderson not only captivated me by her wonderfully non-complicated but intense plot, but with her ability to make her characters feel real enough to touch. The reader can easily identify and sympathize with Kayleigh, and it’s not hard at all to lust after the Holly King! The connection between the two is absolutely electric, and when they come together, look out for sparks!

My conclusion:
Babes in Toyland II really blew me away with it’s fun, smart, sexy, and imaginative stories. Every single one of those stories were ones I enjoyed reading immensely, and the folks at Aspen Mountain should get a big round of applause for choosing the perfect blend of fantastic stories for this anthology. Not only did I find Babes in Toyland II a definite keeper, but I found a ton of new authors that I loved. This is one I will certainly be reading again- at Christmas and all throughout the year.

-Mandy Briggs
Rogues and Romance

Heat Ratings: From none to *5- Cupid's Whole Quiver

Violence Rating: From none to *3- Steel Arrow

Babes in Toyland II, and every story within, gets the Rogues and Romance Must-Read Award. This anthology deserves special recognition for an outstanding stories, characters, and writing.




Happy Reading and Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the awesome review! I loved being a part of such a great crew of authors. :)

Maura Anderson said...

What a beautiful yule present!! Thank you for the wonderful review and I'm also thrilled to be in a book with such a great diversity of wonderful authors!

Raine said...

My god this is a wonderful Xmas present for me. THANK YOU!!! I am honored to be with these fabulkous authors and look forward to more with them! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Raine Delight

Wayne said...

Wow! Thanet Blake says, "I will have to buy a new hat to fit my inflated head. I'm flattered and blushing."

Thanks for the review. The writers in the anthology are a great bunch of hardworking conscientious writers. I'll walk up the writing trail with them anytime.

Wayne Greenough

Jeanne said...

Having been off line d/t so many things and sick as could be, this was a great way to brighten my spirits!
Thank you so much for the great review!
I'm glad I could warm up your winter's reading!