Friday, November 6, 2009


An anthology from Dawn Halliday, Sophie Renwick and Cindy Miles
Publisher:  NAL
Release Date:  November 3, 2009

Christmas is less than two months away. At my house, that means it's time for certain pre-holiday traditions to begin and one of my favorites is checking out the new holiday romances that are being released. A Highlander Christmas is an anthology of three stories, connected by a magical brooch, and set in three different time periods.

Winter Heat by Dawn Halliday

This steamy historical is the story of Maggie MacDonald, a woman facing an unwanted marriage to a despicable clansman and Logan Douglas, a wounded Jacobite returning home from battle as the new laird of his clan, a position he neither sought nor wanted. A magical brooch brings them together and love follows but his responsibility to his clan and her laird's insistence that she marry another threaten to tear them apart. Has Maggie's brooch led her to her life's mate or were her mother's words just a silly, superstitious tale? In Winter Heat, Halliday (who also writes as Jennifer Haymore) gives us an intense, fast-paced story that, while not as racy as her single titles, is still hot and very enjoyable.

Yuletide Enchantment by Sophie Renwick

Isobel MacDonald has heard the tales of the Sidhe who inhabit the otherworld and has heeded the warnings to never enter the woods at night but when the White Hart with whom she has felt a magical bond since the age of six is injured, she is powerless to resist going to his aid. As Prince of the Sidhe and future King of Annwyn, Daegan can take the shape of both the White Hart and a human man. Expected to wed one of his own, he has resisted, as Isobel, a human woman, has held his heart from the day he first saw her. When they finally meet as man and woman, the feelings that have grown within their hearts over the years are set free to flourish but will the sacrifices required for them to be together be too great to overcome? I thoroughly enjoyed this sensuous, historical paranormal tale and was delighted to discover that Renwick intends to return to Annwyn in 2010 with the story of Bran, a secondary character readers will meet in Yuletide Enchantment.

A Christmas Spirit by Cindy Miles

Determined to not spend another Christmas alone, Paige MacDonald is on her way to Inverness, Scotland when her car breaks down in a snowstorm, depositing her on the doorstep of the seemingly deserted Gorloch B&B where she is greeted by a gorgeous, but decidedly inhospitable, Gabriel Munro. Gabriel reluctantly agrees to let her stay but refuses to help her with anything, making her get her own room key, carry her luggage and even fix her own meals. The reason for his rudeness becomes clear when Paige trips and falls...right through the man standing in front of her! Unless the storm clears, it appears that, this year, Paige will be spending Christmas with the ghostly spirit of a centuries-old Highland warrior. Miles has done a superb job of creating a life-like man with the limitations of a spirit in this finely crafted love story. The romantic scenes in particular were simmering with sensuality while, at the same time, very poignant. A Christmas Spirit is, by turns, a humorous, heartbreaking and heartwarming gift not to be missed.

Do you enjoy Christmas romances?  Do you re-read them every year like I do?  Which ones are your favorites and what titles are you looking forward to reading this year?

~ PJ


  1. PJ~ I do like Christmas romances, but I don't actively search them out. If I see one on the shelf that looks/sounds interesting then I'll probably pick it up, but it depends on what else is on the shelf.

    However, I really am looking forward to reading A Highlander Christmas. I just haven't picked it up yet. :-)

    I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but sometimes I judge them by their titles. At least in a preliminary look; and I have found that if a book has the word "highlander" in it I will pick it up to find out more. It could be "The Highlander in Seattle" or "Highlanders Unite".
    There is just something about that word that has me picturing a 6 ft something strapping lad with a piercing gaze. Gets my blood to warm and me moistening my lips thinking "YUMMY".

    I can't think of any Christmas romances that I re-read every year. But there are Christmas books I read every year.
    The Gift of the Magi and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
    I read them both to my kids every year. Sometimes we add different books, but those two are always present.

  2. Hey PJ, am I going nuts or have you already posted that review on RNTV? I feel like I've read it before... *confused*

    Oh boy, do I love Christmas romances. Unfortunately, I haven't read that many. At the moment, I can only think of Snowy Night With A Stranger, an anthology from last year, and I absolutely loved it.

    I've already started A Highlander Christmas, that means, I've read A Christmas Spirit since I've read all of Cindy Miles's books and nothing by the other two authors, so, clever me wanted to read the story first of which I already know some characters from earlier on.

    I'm sure I've read other Christmas romances but can't think of any at the moment. Any suggestions for the future, anyone?

  3. Good Morning, dishes!!

    PJ, as always, great review. You know that I can't resist a Highlander and when you throw the Christmas season into the mix, well what's not to love about a sexy Highlander wrapped in a bow just for me ;-)

    Dorothy, I am the same way. If Highlander is in the title, I'm pretty darn sure going to pick that book up. Heck, I have been known to buy a book based on the cover alone. Great way to find a new author!

    Hey LisaK! Great to see you here. I love Christmas romances too. There's just something about them that give me heart an extra squeeze.

    Here are a couple Christmas stories that I enjoy

    A Highlander for Christmas by Sandy Blair

    An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James

    A Blazing Little Christmas - anthology by Jacquie D'Alessandro, Joanne Rock, and Kathleen O'Reilly

    Seduction at Christmas by Cathy Maxwell

    The Christmas Countess by Adrienne Basso

  4. Hi Dorthy! I have to admit, I'm the same way with the word, Highlander. It sure conjures up some lovely images, doesn't it?

  5. Lisa, you're right. This review was posted at RNTV just before they closed but it was so far in advance of the book's release date that we decided to post it again here.

    Did you enjoy A Christmas Spirit? It was the first story I had read by Miles and I enjoyed it a lot.

  6. I'll second Buffie's suggestion of Sandy Blair's A Highlander for Christmas. It's a delicious time-travel that I re-read every year.

    There's another November release called A Highlander Christmas that's a single-title from Janet Chapman. It's a Christmas story from her wonderful Highlander time-travel series that's set in Maine. I highly recommend all seven books in this Moonlight Warrior, the first book in a spin-off series.

  7. Buffie, I'm so happy that I was at Anna Campbell's website yesterday and discovered TRD - I didn't know that the four of you had planned to make a new site or I would have been here on the opening day - grumble, grumble, late as always, but now I won't let go of TRD anymore!

    And thanx for the suggestions! I'll definitely check them out!

    PJ, I loved Christmas Spirit. I've read Cindy Miles from her very first book on (and also found out that she's such a nice person!) and she's one of the few authros that manage to make me cry at the end of. Every. Single. Book.

    As you maybe know, I'm very much into hot'n'steamy scenes, but with Cindy's books, I'm perfectly okay with them one love scene in the Epilogue since the whole book before it is so verra romantic and can be savored all the more.

  8. LisaK, we are just glad you found us!! The four of us really wanted to continue reviewing, so we started this new adventure. Sorry you missed the party, it was a lot of fun ;-) But no worries, we are having a huge housewarming party the week of November 16.

  9. Lisa, Cindy Miles is being interviewed today by our friends over at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales where she's talking about her most recent trip to Scotland and her inspiration for A Christmas Spirit.

  10. Good morning, PJ! Thanks for the review--I do love Christmas themed books. And a Christmas book chock-full of highlanders? Um, yes, please. :-)

  11. I like Christmas themed books, but like Dorthy, I don't actively seek them out. That being said, some of my favorites are:

    ~A Visit from Sir Nicholas by Victoria Alexander
    ~The Present by Johanna Lindsey
    ~The Christmas Countess by Adrienne Basso
    ~The Blaze anthologies - Heating Up the Holidays and A Blazing Little Christmas

    Again, like Dorthy, I read Christmas stories to my kids every year. We always read The Polar Express, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

  12. Hey, LisaK! I'm so glad you found us! :)

  13. Hi Ladies!!! This is great. I have been wanting this book forever and now reading your review, I'm wanting it even more!!! I need to get to the store.

    FYI - We did interview Cindy Miles today over at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog. Just so you know, she is giving away The Highlander Christmas AND 13 Chances (both!!!) to 3 different commentors. Definitely come over and leave a comment to be entered!

    Again, love this review! You ladies rock!

  14. PJ~ Thanks for the link to petit Fours and Hot Tamales. I will have to check that out. :-)

    Looking at my bookshelf this morning I realized that I recently bought a Christmas romance. LOL

    Silent Night, Haunted Night by Terri Garey

    I absolutely LOVED it! I couldn't put it down. For those of you who haven't heard of it, its a Paranormal Romance and the last book in the Nicki Styx series *sob* I'm going to miss Nicki. BUT at least I can revisit her when ever I crack open one of her books. ;-)
    For those of you who haven't tried paranormal romance, or tried it and found it lacking. Try Terri Garey's Nicki Styx series. Seriously. Its believable paranormal. No vamps or werewolves here. :)

  15. I tend not to enjoy Christmas romances. I'm not sure why but they just don't click with me.

  16. PJ, your first review persuaded me to try this anthology, although it's spicier than my usual fare.

    You know asking me for my favorite Christmas books is dangerous. I could easily list a hundred. LOL! I'll limit myself to a dozen tested and proved favorites:

    1. Christmas Belle, Mary Balogh
    2. Christmas Angel, Jo Beverley
    3. Winter Fire, Jo Beverley
    4. Once Upon a Christmas, Diane Farr
    5. Twelve Days, Teresa Hill
    6. An Affair Before Christmas, Eloisa James
    7. A Carol Christmas, Muriel Jensen
    8. “No Room at the Inn” (A Regency Christmas 2002), Carla Kelly
    9. Shenandoah Christmas, Lynette Kent
    10. Miracle on I-40, Curtiss Ann Matlock
    11. Christmas Revels (collection of novellas), Mary Jo Putney
    12. A Matchmaker’s Christmas, Donna Simpson

    I must add that I loved Courtney Milan's very different Christmas story, "This Wicked Gift," in the 2009 collection The Heart of Christmas.

  17. Janga, I've been waiting all morning for you to post. I knew you'd have a wonderful list! :)

  18. I always enjoy a Christmas romance, and if there are Highlanders involved then that makes it pretty perfect. :)

    Some of my favorites have been mentioned:

    A Highlander for Christmas by Sandy Blair

    An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James

    The Blaze Anthologies

    And Debbbie Macomber's Angel Series: A Season of Angels, The Trouble with Angels, et al--all featuring 3 charming angels named Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. :)

  19. Hi Dorthy! I enjoy re-reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Visit From Saint Nicholas and The Gift of the Magi. Wouldn't be Christmas without them. :)

    Hi, LisaK. I enjoyed Snowy Night With A Stranger, too!

    Hi, Susan! Another give-me-a-Highlander-and-I'm-happy reader! Great minds think alike! *g*

  20. Hi, Tami! I'm definitely head over to Petit Fours and Hot Tamales ASAP! We are so glad you like it here, and your compliments just thrill us to bits! :)

    Janga, that's a great list!!

  21. I do love Christmas romances. They're so nice to read when you have Christmas music in the background, a cup of hot chocolate, and a fire going. I don't really have a favorite though. I like all of the Christmas romances i have the same.

  22. Great review I wil be adding this one to the must have list

    I too love reading Christmas romances and have read some great ones over the years but it is early here in Oz and the brain isn't fully awake yet.

    Thanks for the review PJ

    Have FUn

  23. Jedisakora, welcome to our site. I love the setting you've described!

  24. Hi Helen! Hope you enjoy the book. :)

  25. I do enjoy a good Christmas romance. :) A Highlander Christmas sounds fabulous.

  26. You know I’m a Christmas nut. I’ve already read my first Christmas anthology of the season, This Heart of Mine, with two great reissues by Mary Balogh and Nicola Cornick and a truly wonderful debut novella by Courtney Milan. I’m also looking forward to The Christmas Ball by Jennifer Ashley, Emily Bryan, et al. and to Susan Wiggs’s A Lakeshore Christmas. I always look forward to Debbie Macomber’s new Christmas book.

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