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Reviews  for Holiday in the Heart

by Multiple Authors

***** Beautiful compilation!, December 22, 2006

Twelve talented authors put their own unique spin on the holidays in this wonderful themed anthology. HOLIDAY IN THE HEART is the result of their efforts and offers a bit of something for everyone this holiday season.

Leanne Burroughs opens up this anthology with "Christmas Wonderland". The setting is 1944 and money and supplies are tight with the war going on. Samantha Noelle's temporary job as an elf brings her in contact with her boss, Greg Giovanni, and his injured daughter, Missy. Will Greg's overprotective behavior prevent love from blossoming in this "Christmas Wonderland"?

What a heartbreakingly beautiful story! The poignant prose of Leanne Burroughs will leave nary a dry eye after reading "Christmas Wonderland". Ms. Burroughs once again demonstrates her powerful talent at evoking emotions from the reader. Keep a box of Kleenex handy for this one as readers will cherish this touching tale from such a talented author.

"The Power of Love" by Kemberlee Shortland focuses on newlyweds Elaine and Ethan as they expect their first child. When they receive the devastating news that Elaine's heart will not withstand the delivery, "The Power of Love" receives a whole new meaning.

Kemberlee Shortland's heart-rending tale will leave the reader in tears. Never has a story been so aptly named as this one! The depth of emotion displayed between Ethan and Elaine is simply stunning. Kemberlee Shortland proves herself to be a true force in the romance genre with this gem!

"Sempre" by Aleka Nakis is a tale of old flames reuniting. Amanda Law has never forgotten Marco Tamburi despite having married another. Now divorced and with a teenage son, Amanda meets back up with Marco in "Sempre".

Aleka Nakis writes a charming story that is perfect for the holidays! Amanda's inner turmoil is very clear as she ponders what could have been if she had accepted Marco's marriage proposal almost 20 years ago. The inclusion of Amanda's teenage son is a perfect touch as is his reaction to the entire situation. Aleka Nakis will garner some new fans with this enthralling tale.

Michele Ann Young's "Christmas Masquerade" is set in the 1800s. When Clarissa Trevethon's carriage crashes near the home of grumpy Gerrard Blackstone, Gerrard suspects she is trying to entrap him in marriage.

"Christmas Masquerade" is a sweet tale in which the beauty of true love shines through. The tension between Clarissa and Gerrard is masterfully done as Michele Ann Young skillfully builds up to the crescendo. The attraction between Clarissa and Gerrard is very sensual and will warm the hearts of readers.

"Ballou's Christmas Wish" by Keelia Greer is a story involving puppy owners Melody Barton and Jorin Griffin. A chance encounter at a grocery store brings them together but their puppies, Ballou and Bonnie, refuse to be separated. Will "Ballou's Christmas Wish" be granted?

Animal lovers will simply adore Keelia Greer's charming tale! Ballou practically steals the show with his adorable antics. The twist in the story is exceptionally well done. Whether writing a science fiction or contemporary romance, Keelia Greer proves that she is a phenomenal writer in any genre!

"The Christmas Curse" by Rachel Michaels focuses on Jenna Malone's tales of repeated Christmas disasters. After being drenched by water from a passing bus, she makes a wish upon a star. Will her unexpected encounter with her neighbor, John, be enough to break "The Christmas Curse"?

"The Christmas Curse" is a hysterical tale! Rachel Michaels does a fabulous job at explaining Jenna's fear of Christmas. Readers are sure to chuckle over some of Jenna's past Christmas woes while cheering for her to overcome "The Christmas Curse". This superbly written tale is a definite hit. Well done, Ms. Michaels!

"Maggie at Christmas" by Diane Davis White is a holiday heart-warmer! Maggie Donaldson isn't sure she's ready to move on after the death of her husband almost 2 years ago. Ethan Spencer is determined to change her mind with the help of four foster children.

What a delightful tale! Diane Davis White's sweet story emphasizes that family is all about the heart. This touching tale is sure to soften even the hardest heart. The inclusion of Matt and his overall demeanor is perfectly in line with that of many foster children. Thank you, Ms. White, for such a beautiful story!

"Rachel's Light" by Victoria Houseman is a story of love conquering all class boundaries in the late 1700s. Samuel Stein's heart has been hardened by the loss of his wife. Governess Rachel Levine has tolerated his sullen behavior for the sake of the children. Will love blossom this year for Rachel and Samuel?

Victoria Houseman's lyrical style makes this time period come alive! The tension between Samuel and Rachel is well developed. Samuel's devious plan is spectacular and showcases the ingenuity of Ms. Houseman. "Rachel's Light" is a beautifully written historical tale. Ms. Houseman writes a superb romance, whether it is historical or in the science fiction genre!

"The Greatest Gift of All" by Candace Gold is a modern day tale of finding love. Claudia Sykes is very reluctantly dragged to a church dance after being jilted one month before her wedding. Fortune smiles on her as she meets sexy Adam Devine, but will the war destroy their chances at everlasting love?

Candace Gold has written a poignant tale of finding love again after heartbreak. The scenes involving the annoying Howard Dolan are nothing short of hysterical and will amuse anyone who has ever encountered a person like Howard. Superbly written, "The Greatest Gift of All" is a delight to read.

"Victoriana" by Heather Hiestand is an unusual twist on the time travel theme. Robyne Arthur finds a Christmas cracker which transports her to an alternate version of Victorian England. In this reality, time is frozen and it is always December 17th in the heart of winter. Will Robyne learn to trust Edward, the Earl of Chester, in hopes of saving the children of this time?

Heather Hiestand demonstrates a remarkable amount of creativity with "Victoriana". The entire concept is simply splendid and Ms. Hiestand does an excellent job with Robyne's reaction to this alternate reality. Readers will thoroughly enjoy this unique approach to time travel!

"Tempt Me Twice" by Anna Kathryn Lanier is an appropriately named tale in which Meghan Shelton de Vries faces her former lover and the Duke of Prestwick, Peter Bourne. Meghan fled from Peter in disgrace over 7 years ago when she discovered he was betrothed to another. Will their story have a happier ending this time around?

Anna Kathryn Lanier perfectly captures the essence of the time period in which "Tempt Me Twice" is set. The emotions between Meghan and Peter are vividly displayed in Ms. Lanier's powerful prose. Readers will appreciate "Tempt Me Twice". Anna Kathryn Lanier is an author to keep an eye on as she injects a great deal of feeling into this holiday tale!

"Blue Christmas Cat" by DeborahAnne MacGillivray is the sweetly sensual tale of Dara Seaforth and Rhys St. John. Dara is missing her now deceased cat, Dexter, when another cat named Elvis mysteriously appears on her doorstep. Little does she realize that the love of her life, Rhys, is sure to follow Elvis' tracks. Will Dara's love remain unrequited this Christmas?

"Blue Christmas Cat" is a superb tale that is sure to put a smile on the reader's face. DeborahAnne MacGillivray has a gift at combining just the right elements to create the perfect story. Readers will want to enjoy the companion tale in CHRISTMAS WISHES after finishing this wonderful story. "Blue Christmas Cat" is an absolute gem and concludes this anthology in the fine style one expects of any DeborahAnne MacGillivray tale!

HOLIDAY IN THE HEART is a beautiful compilation by twelve absolutely phenomenal authors. From the past to the present, no matter what setting the story appears, HOLIDAY IN THE HEART delivers a splendid mixture of powerful romantic tales. Readers will cherish this anthology. HOLIDAY IN THE HEART is a must read!

Deborah Wiley (Winter Haven, FL)
COURTESY OF CK2S Kwips and Kritiques



***** Holiday Magic!, December 17, 2006

Christmas Wonderland by Leanne Burroughs—Worried about how she is going to make ends meet Samantha Noelle agrees to play Santa's helper. When she meets handsome Gregory Giovanni she's not sure what to make of him...and then she meets his daughter. This holiday season is full of surprises.

The Power of Love by Kemberlee Shortland—When a doctor informs Lany and Ethan that her heart is too weak to survive childbirth. But these two strong people are about to discover that the power of love is a force to be reckoned with...as is St. Nicholas.

Sempre by Aleka Nakis--Amanda thinks that she is going to be spending the holidays alone. Then a Christmas miracle brings her lost love to her. Are they finally going to have a second chance to make things right between them?

Christmas Masquerade by Michele Ann Young—The Earl of Dart has no use for the Yule season so he decides to immerse in chopping wood. So you can imagine his surprise when a young lady comes out of the snowstorm that has blown up. He is not going to be taken in by a pretty face...but maybe this angel his here not to trap him into marriage but rather to teach him what the magic of love.

Ballou's Christmas Wish by Keelia Greer—When Melody and her dog Ballou good shopping for doggy treats neither one of them imagine that this shopping trip is going to turn out the way it does. But anything is possible during the holidays.

The Christmas Curse by Rachel Michaels—Jenna Malone is convinced that she is cursed...nothing good ever happens around the holidays and this day is no different and then she slips and is knocked unconscious. Is this a cursing or a blessing...a holiday blessing in disguise?

Maggie at Christmas by Diane Davis White—Ethan Spencer comes to town for a convention but there are no rooms available and then widow Maggie Donaldson offers to let him stay with her. This holiday season is going to offer a great deal of happiness.

Rachel's Light by Victoria Houseman—Rachel Levine is governess to two small children and this is their first Christmas without their mother. Her employer is a miserable man so she is shocked when he asks her to marry him. Maybe the holiday season will bring the magic that this family needs.

The Greatest Gift of All by Candace Gold—Claudia is left at the alter and is not interested in meeting someone new...but then she does. She thinks she will finally get her happy ending and then he is sent war. Claudia needs the strength to see this through.

Victorian by Heather Hiestand--Robyn is transported back in time she holds the only key that will bring sunshine and light to the people of Victorian England. The fact that she finds love along the way is bonus.

Tempt Me Twice by Anna Kathryn Lanier—Meghan Shelton de Vries is a widow and is looking forward to spending time with her six year old daughter. When they travel to a wedding she is surprised when she bumps into the old love of her life. Will this second chance at love bring happiness to them both?

Blue Christmas Cat by DeborahAnne MacGillivray—Romance author Dara Seagraves is in a bad way. She is snowed in has a deadline looming and her furry kitty companion passed away six weeks earlier. On top of all of this she is aware that Rhys St. John is back--she has loved him since she was an adolescent. Totally blue she makes a Christmas wish on Dexter's spirit...wishes always seem to come true during the holidays.

This holiday compellation is a perfect way to escape from the frantic pace of the holiday season. There is a little something for everyone between these pages. Let the lass's of Highland Press entertain you with their magical tales of love. Perfect for a holiday gift.

Kristi Ahlers - Contributing author for Blue Moon Magic and No Laws Against Love anthologies (Lebanon, Illinois)



4.5 Stars!, November 30, 2006

Christmas Wonderland by Leanne Burroughs.
Set in the USA, 1944. Most of the men are overseas, fighting in the war. Samantha Noelle has one month to find a new place to live. Her day job is not enough for a deposit. Luckily, she is hired at a department store as Santa's elf. Sam loves dealing with the children. But she sure does not like the elf costume and her boss.

The Power of Love by Kemberlee Shortland.
Set in Ireland, present day. Elaine and Ethan O'Donovan are devastated when the hospital doctor informs them that Elaine's heart is too weak to survive the birth of their unborn child. Sometime within the next few weeks, Elaine would die in labor. On Christmas Eve, though, anything is possible.

Sempre by Aleka Nakis.
Set in New York, present day. Amanda Law's teen son is in Colorado, spending Christmas with his father. So Amanda is resigned to being alone in New York for the holiday. But while viewing the city from atop the Empire State Building, Amanda meets an Italian man from her past.

Christmas Masquerade by Michele Ann Young.
Set in England, 1813. Clarissa Trevethon has long heard tales of people being lost on the moors at night. Yet when her carriage turns over and the post-boy is knocked unconscious, she must go looking for help. The only one nearly turns out to be a sullen man in a gate house.

Ballou's Christmas Wish by Keelia Greer.
Set in Texas, present day. Melody Barton and her West Highland white terrier, Ballou, are picking up some "Woofies" dog cookies when they meet Jorin Griffin. Melody and Jorin are not the only two attracted to each other. Jorin also has a "Westie" named Bonnie. More than anything, Ballou wants the two humans together so he can be with Bonnie. Problem is that Jorin is having problems with a female ex-employee who is obsessed with him.

The Christmas Curse by Rachel Michaels.
Set in the present time. Jenna Malone totally believes she is cursed to have a horrible Christmas every year of her life. Something awful always happens. Today is Christmas Eve. Her boyfriend broke up with her, via email, this morning. The right heel on her expensive boots broke. Her car is in the shop so she has to take the bus home from work. The bus splashes slush all over her hair and coat. Her slushy hair has frozen. What else could possibly go wrong? I will tell you! She can (and does) slip on ice and get knocked unconscious.

Maggie at Christmas by Diane Davis White.
Set in the present time. Professor Ethan Spencer cannot find a vacant room in town, due to multiple conventions in the area. Luckily, Maggie Donaldson agrees to let him stay in her spare room for awhile. But Maggie never expected to be attracted to the man; especially since she has only been a widow for two short years.

Rachel's Light by Victoria Houseman.
Set in Charleston, South Carolina, 1783. Rachel Levine has been the governess of Eve and Joshua Stein for six months now. This will be the first holiday season for the children without their mother. They love their father, but he has become bitter. Yet when their father asks Rachel to marry him for the sake of the children. She cannot help but agree.

The Greatest Gift of All by Candace Gold.
Set in America. Claudia Sykes still hurt from being jilted by her fiancé, had to be forced to attend a dance at church. When a horrid man approaches Claudia and refuses to accept the word "No", Claudia believes she should have stayed home after all. Then she meets Adam Devine. Claudia finally risks her heart only to have the Army Reserve order Adam to Iraq.

Victoriana by Heather Hiestand.
Begins in Tacoma, Washington, present date. Robyne Arthur is shopping for small Christmas presents when she spies a Christmas cracker. Upon gently tugging the ends, she is transported to a strange place called Victoriana. The place seems to be England in the 1900's. And every single day is December 17th.

Tempt Me Twice by Anna Kathryn Lanier.
Set in Yorkshire, England, 1844. Thanks to her late husband, Meghan Shelton de Vries is financially secure for the rest of her life. Therefore, Meghan can spend all her time with Marissa, her six-year-old daughter. But during a gathering for her cousin's wedding, Meghan literally runs into the man she loved seven years ago. Worse, the man seems to realize that he is Marissa's biological father.

Blue Christmas Cat by DeborahAnne MacGillivray.
Set in the Highlands, present day. Romance author Dara Seaforth is snowed in on Christmas Eve. Even with her deadline looming, Dara is unable to write. Of course, she knows why depression has set in. There is no one visiting to bring Christmas cheer. Add to that her beloved cat, Dexter, died six weeks ago and Dara is unable to break the habit of talking to him. And lastly, Rhys St. John has returned to the area. Dara has loved him since she was eighteen. Now, fifteen years later, he still does not seem to know she even exists. In one weak moment, Dara makes a wish to Dexter's spirit for a new companion...and a British Blue kitty begins meowing outside her door.

***** Twelve stories that would put even Scrooge into the Christmas spirit. It does not matter what TYPE of romance genre you prefer. This book has a little bit of everything. The stories are set in the U.S.A. and Europe. Some take place in the past, some in the present, and one story takes place in both! I strongly suggest that you put on something comfortable, brew up something hot (tea, coffee or cocoa will do), light up a fire, settle down somewhere quiet and begin reading this anthology. *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews



***** Super Collection of Great Stories!, November 28, 2006

CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND by Leanne Burroughs - When Samantha Noelle was talked into replacing her friend Monique as one of Santa's helpers at Nickels Department store she was less than thrilled with the divinely handsome store manager who laughed at her in her green elf costume. Sam thought Mr. Giovanni should have been called Mr. Grumpy and would have liked to just stay out of his way but his precocious young daughter was going to show them both how much they all needed one another. *** Burroughs has an incredible voice whether writing a Scottish historical or a contemporary love story.

THE POWER OF LOVE by Kemberlee Shortland - Life was pretty much perfect for Elaine (Lany) and Ethan and even though they hadn't planned to start a family right away their love was strong enough to sustain anything as long as they would be together. They would discover that love is the most powerful gift of all especially when St. Nicholas is around on Christmas eve to help miracles happen. *** Shortland writes a powerfully emotional story that moved me to tears with an intensity that took my breath away.

SEMPRE by Aleka Nakis - When you're young you often make unwise choices and Amanda, standing all alone on Christmas Eve had reason today to regret the choice that changed her life. Not all of it, after all she had her son Jason just not the man who captured and still held her heart today. Yet, when Marco appeared on the observation deck with her perhaps miracles could happen and she would have a second chance at love. *** A lovely sweet story that proves once again that love is the best miracle of all -- any time of the year.

CHRISTMAS MASQUERADE by Michele Ann Young - The Earl of Dart had no use for Christmas so buried himself chopping firewood at his gamekeepers cottage. Seeing a vision coming thru the blowing snow he first thought he'd died and went to heaven, but more likely she was just another damsel looking to ensnare him in a parson's mousetrap. Well, she'd find out he wasn't about to succumb to her feminine wiles, but then again, maybe she really didn't know who he was. On the other hand wouldn't he be surprised to learn who she was as well? *** Ms. Young writes a lovely tale of two people fate was kind enough to bring together on a snowy Christmas Eve. Well done and a sweetly sensual tale to take the chill off a cold and snowy night.

BALLOU'S CHRISTMAS WISH by Keelia Greer - Not only will you be rooting for Melody to have her Christmas wish come true in this charming dog-lovers story but even her West Highland terrier Ballou gets his wish too! *** This was a totally delightful story that put a smile on my face from beginning to end.

THE CHRISTMAS CURSE by Rachel Michaels - All her life it seemed Jenna was a walking disaster around the Christmas holidays. Just once - one time - could she have a pleasant Christmas? Well, it was worth a shot to wish on a star, just this one time and maybe magic could happen. *** This was a very cute story proving sometimes wishes do come true. Sweet.

MAGGIE AT CHRISTMAS by Diane Davis White - Maggie Donaldson wasn't quite so sure offering the hospitality of her home to Professor Ethan Spencer was such a good idea especially when she felt such an amazing attraction. Ethan hadn't thought he'd ever want to get tied down again but Maggie Donaldson was kind and compassionate and the complete opposite of his ex-wife - with Maggie he saw an end to loneliness. *** A tremendous love story and four foster kids that will steal your heart. Have tissues near by for this one!

RACHEL'S LIGHT by Victoria Houseman - As governess to Samuel Stein's children Rachel Levine knew her place yet couldn't help but wish to take away the pain and bitterness she saw in Samuel's beautiful eyes. Samuel was bitter over what life had dealt him after losing his wife and the pain from his mangled leg but most of all hated that he hurt Rachel with his drunken tirades, a lovely gentle young woman who deserved better. *** Houseman writes a powerfully beautiful love story of redemption as a gentle young woman brings light and promise to man who once thought his life bleak.

THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL by Candace Gold - After having been jilted by her fiancé Claudia wasn't in the mood to go to any dance but once there met a guy too good to be true. Things progressed nicely until he was called up to serve in the Iraqi war and Claudia's world fell apart again when he was reported MIA. *** Well written and emotional - have the tissues handy! Lovely.

VICTORIANA by Heather Hiestand - Hiestand has come up with an exceptionally creative and original story when Robyne Arthur, a young woman stumbles upon an old Victorian `cracker' and is transported from Tacoma, Washington to Victorian England. Only it's an England that has been frozen in time. The Earl of Chester points out that Robyne holds the key to saving them but she would forfeit any chance to return home. The more she gets to know the kindly Earl of Chester, she may just decide that staying with him is where she wants to be. *** Loved this very original time travel from the very first pages. A step back into Victorian England. Sweetly satisfying.

TEMPT ME TWICE by Anna Kathryn Lanier - Lady Meghan had given her heart to the Duke of Prestwick many years ago only to discover that he was betrothed and would marry another. In flight to the continent, she married another and bore a daughter. Seven years later they are both free, but would the Duke be able to tempt an older and wiser Meghan again? *** A beautiful story of betrayal, lost love, and redemption written with an eloquent and passionate voice that simmered with sensuality.

BLUE CHRISTMAS CAT by DeborahAnne MacGillivray - Dara Seaforth had loved Rhys St. John since she was eleven years old - still remembered the one and only kiss she'd given him at eighteen. When on Christmas Eve and Dara was more lonely than ever, a stray cat with a name tag of Elvis showed up on her doorstep. Rhys had returned to the village and been looking for a reason to approach Dara. Following his silly cat's tracks through the snow he was overjoyed to discover they led straight to Dara's door! *** This was a charming little story that proves that someone is bound to listen when one's heart is pure to grant special wishes at Christmas time. MacGillivray writes with a pleasing sensual voice and wonderful character development for both human and feline.

This is a terrific collection of stories that sets the mood for ringing in the holiday spirit with warm loving feelings, faith and charity. You can't miss with this lovely fine-tuned collection with a bit of something for everyone's taste.

Marilyn Rondeau, RIO - Reviewers International Organization



Copyright 2008 Leanne Burroughs