Heating Up the Holidays - Play with Me by Lisa Renee Jones / Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers / After Midnight by Serena Bell

Heating Up the Holidays 3-Story Bundle - Lisa Renee Jones, Serena Bell, Mary Ann Rivers


Play with Me by Lisa Renee Jones

5 Stars


This short novella tells the story of Kali - leaving her home in Texas to begin a new life in Vegas. In Vegas she meets Damion her new (too good looking) boss. Both Kali and Damion has a past that as Kali phrases - got them bruised but not broken - but nevertheless they keep their past from each other. Both of them don't easily trust other people. The passion between the two of them was making it VERY hard for them to work with each other but the both of them are determined to keep each other. Little by little they realize that together is the right call :) 


This novella was very sweet. I really liked it! Damion is a little too bossy for my liking but in a way because he is how he is Kali "gives in" - I guess without a very guiding hand she wouldn't have even considered the possibility. Damion is more open and sure of himself. He knows what he wants and he will get it. I should say that though Kali is less sure of herself about him - she is totally different about being Damion secretary. She is very motivated and initiative. The "mystery" of the story ended quite abruptly. I guess for a short novella there was no use going deeper into it. It's about their relationship and how it builds up not a thriller ;)


I'm looking forward to reading more by Mary Ann Rivers! It's nice that these bundles gives you the opportunity to get to know authors you might have somehow "missed". The next one by Serena Bell was one I was looking forward after reading her short novella "Ticket Home" from the "Strangers on a Train" bundle which I also loved.


After Midnight by Serena Bell

5 Stars


A good one! :) a story about trust or mis-trust. Both Nora and Miles find themselves quite miserable on New Years's Eve. Nora just ended a long relationship after discovering her ex has cheated on her repeatedly and Miles is accused of something he didn't do but as it seems his girlfriend didn't believe him or believe in him enough to stay. They meet at the party - two total strangers enjoy 15 minutes together then disappear from each other's life. Both Nora and Miles try searching for the other but to no avail. I loved that they used the Social medias - Facebook/Twitter - to try and find each other. It felt so "modern" :D something most of us would do being in the same situation. As you can guess they find each other, but wanting each other, being attracted to each other isn't enough. Not when Miles life is falling apart, when he can't expect anyone to be with him (because of what he is facing) and Nora has her trust issues she wished she wouldn't have had but she does. 


The story ended sweetly for them. Like in the first novella in this bundle - I felt that Miles legal situation ended a little too quickly but it wasn't the main thing in the story and since it's a short novella maybe there wasn't any time and place to put more details about it. 

I think the idea of trusting oneself and how it is expressed in the story is beautiful. 


Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers

1 Star


This novella tells the story of Jenny a microbiologist who lives alone and far away from her most important person in her world - her mother - so she could do the thing she loves most - work microbiology magic in the lab. She truly finds herself to be alone in the dark when her vision start to deteriorate and it turns out she has a disease that might turn her blind in the future (but no one can tell her how much worse her eyesight would be and how long will it take for her to get to that point). She starts doing only the safe things - going to work returning home and that's about it - which also mean she connect with others as less as possible. Her only connections are her mother, her "modern pen-pal" C (they interact through his blog where he posts very special kind of photos) and her occupational therapist - Evan - who suppose to help her deal with the difficulties her deteriorating eyesight brings. In spite of her objection to the therapy (which demands of her to DEAL with her difficulties which she find too damn hard!) Evan starts to "grow on her" just when C decides to finally set a date for their first meeting.  


I feel like the first thing I should do is apologize. The writer, I'm sure, put a lot of effort to this novella and my opinion of it is very negative.. The truth is in the beginning it "didn't work for me" and then, as I continued reading I just got mad. I told myself I would finish this novella to get a sense of closure. But actually it just made my impression of the novella worse. I just hated it. 


This is the second novella I've read by Mary Ann Rivers. Sadly, it seems that though I find the idea of the story very interesting and different I don't feel drawn to her writing. When I read the first novella ("The Story Guy") I didn't know how to explain my "problems" with the writing, or what I felt didn't work for me. I wrote that the main character's narrative sounded like "she thinks like she speaks". Sounds strange - I know. In my eyes she describes the world around her with a very rational way, but there is no real emotion to any of the things she describes, it's though she is incapable of feeling and expressing REAL emotion. It is very apparent in her interaction with Evan and C. The whole interaction seems utterly juvenile while they are suppose to be I'll guess close to the age of 30. I wouldn't give their behavior more than 20 and even that's a lot. Another issue with how she describes things around her - it's all written in those very long and complicated sentences I just don't get. It just goes on and on and I don't get the point. You have a situation where she cries. It's not the crying it's the situation itself how she is bent down in her chair and there is nothing there. Her excitement when she interacts with C is just isn't there. You don't have those moments when you burst out laughing or even snigger uncontrollably or you hold your stomach or your throat because you are about to cry.


Another thing I wrote in my review of the previous book ("The Story Guy") is that the main character is just not interesting enough. There we had a "boring librarian". Here we have a "boring microbiologist". She describe the things she find interesting in the lab and I just "get" why she's all alone in the world, why no connections to other people in her life are meaningful (even if she says differently I don't buy it). The way we connect to other people is we have something meaningful that happens there between us. Her doing the holidays with her mother or her mother buying her socks is just not enough. It's an un-personal gesture like everything else that happens. 


I really wanted to love this one but I guess these thing happen - we just don't have the chemistry.. I won't be reading more by this author but by any means don't let my personal judgement discourage you from reading this bundle, especially because the other two are great.