TBR Challenge Review: Baby, It's Cold Outside

Format: mass market
Pub Date: November 2014
Publisher: Pocket
Length: 534 pages
POV: Various (including 1 first, past and 1 first, present)
FTC: Received for free from an RT convention

I'm finally digging into my RT Convention TBR again, and this time, I pulled out a holiday book just in time for...the holidays (and the TBR challenge)! (This never happens).

This one is a BIG anthology filled with contemporary romance novellas. Some by authors I've read before, some by new-to-me authors. And as with most anthologies, some were better than others.

Baby, It's Cold Outside  has five stories by five different authors: Jennifer Probst, Emma Chase, Kristen Proby, Melody Anne, and Kate Meader. Of those, I've only ever read Kate Meader before.

The first story, Searching for You by Jennifer Probst, is a second chance at love story with a twist. Two former almost-lovers are set up via a specialty dating service based on a computer program. It's a sweet, short story with all of the requisite holiday elements: snow, snark, and sex. Some of the set up is a little too cheesy, and there's a wealth angle that given lots of people's current mood about billionaires and millionaires, might turn off some readers. I did like the characters and the almost fairy tale like setting.

Grade: B+

The second one, It's a Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol by Emma Chase,  I'm a little iffy about. It's first person, male POV, and it definitely has a strong voice. I just didn't like it, but others may feel differently. The premise is yet another retelling of  A Christmas Carol with the moral of the story being our protag learning to celebrate Christmas, enjoy his marriage, and not be a workaholic. Meh.

Grade: C-

The third story is Saving Grace by Kristen Proby which is a DNR for me. It's written in first person, present, which I loathe. Cannot. Stand. It. I really wish authors would stop it, but it seems to have taken over YA and NA. Only a matter of time before it takes over romance, too. :(

Grade: DNR

Safe in His Arms by Melody Anne is another one where I had issues. The heroine shows up for a job in a Montana winter wearing heels and a skirt. She's supposed to be a school teacher and is "surprised" by the cold. Um... Apparently, not a very bright teacher. The town has hired her with the express purpose of setting her up with a specific someone...who happens to be her new landlord. I could take a dimwitted ninny of a teacher if she didn't keep falling on her ass or head or otherwise seem incapable of staying upright. That's not endearing. It's way too close to fainting damsels for me. I found the characterization flat, the plot improbable, and the whole lack of common sense insulting.

My Grade: C-

Rekindle the Flame by Kate Meader is the novella I didn't know I was missing out on. I have recently finished the Hot in Chicago novels by Meader that I received at RT. This is a companion to those. Like the rest of the series, this story was smoking hot, with lots of humor and sex. I love Meader's voice. This is another second chance at love story, and it was fun to read it out of order, knowing the stories to come.  My only complaint is that there really isn't much of a conflict. But the characters are strong enough to make the story interesting anyway.

My Grade: A-

The Blurb:

Outside it may be frosty, so turn the heat way up with these stories of desire!

Can a determined woman executive and a playboy billionaire survive being stranded together in a snowstorm? Jennifer Probst depicts an encounter almost too hot to handle…

Drew and Kate play an encore to Tangled in this sexy take on a “Christmas Carol” by Emma Chase. When a Christmas Eve argument condemns Drew to a troubled night, three dream women teach him that no gift could be more tantalizing than Kate…

With Kristen Proby, ski slopes are quite delightful. Grace Douglas is sure she’ll never learn to ski, but instructor Jacob Baxter could teach her lessons of a different kind…

Can a southern California transplant survive Montana’s deep snows? Melody Anne, author of the bestselling Andersons series, melts the icy drifts completely away with the heat between sexy Hawk Winchester and brand-new teacher Natalie Duncan…

What could be hotter than a firefighter? Kate Meader shows how hot it can get as Beck Rivera and heiress-turned-tattoo-artist Darcy Cochrane discover that nothing ignites holiday flames like rekindling a lost love…

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