I received this book for free from Publisher for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.Christmas, Actually Publication Date: July 12, 2015
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4* – Really Liked It – What I love about short story anthologies is that I’m able to test out new-to-me authors and see if I’d be interested in reading one of their full novels. Christmas, Actually was a great introduction to me for authors Vicki Lesage, Katie Rose Guest Pryal, Cheryl McAlister and Aimee Horton.
Vicki wrote All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, a humorous albeit slightly stressful story about her real life escapade with the dentist at Christmastime. I could totally see what happened to Vicki happen to me, I have nightmares about losing all my teeth as it is!
Katie’s story, Nice Wheels, was my one of my favorites in the collection. After becoming a young widow, Barbara is torn between the soldier in Afghanistan she should be in love with and a tall, handsome colleague at home who won’t take no for an answer. A story about moving on after unexpected grief and how the holidays bring both haunting memories and a hope for the future. Katie’s writing really struck a nerve with me, she’s a local North Carolina author and I will be sure to check out her novel, Entanglement.
Cheryl’s story, Noelle, was another favorite. David is a recently single illustrator who draws the cover for romance novels. He reads the novel in order to figure out how to draw the cover and surprisingly, enjoys the story and the heroine Noelle. He paints Noelle and everyone, including himself, is mesmerized by her beauty. He thinks she’s only a figment of his imagination until all of a sudden she isn’t. Will the real Noelle live up to what he imagined she’d be like? I really enjoyed Cheryl’s writing and the way she developed the characters in such a short time frame.
Aimee’s story, Survival of the Christmas Spirit by Aimee Horton. Blogger turned author, Aimee’s story about a young family in the UK was another humorous albeit stressful story about a mom’s preparation for Christmas and unexpected guests. It’s the Murphy’s Law of Christmas stories and hit a little too close to home. What holiday hostess hasn’t gone through the euphoria and stresses of hosting a large get together?
The bad thing about short story anthologies is that sometimes the story ends too abruptly. I get engrossed in the story forgetting it’s not a full length novel and then I’m at a loss when the story ends.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the last story in the anthology (not mentioned here) which really was a bummer since it ended an otherwise lovely Christmas collection on a sour note for me. Thankfully, Adria Cimino’s teaser story, In the Red, about a Chinese girl living in Paris, was lovely and made me want to read the rest of the That’s Paris: Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light too. It would be perfect for our Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge!