Audiobook Review: A Snowy Little Christmas Anthology

Published October 18th 2019

Narrators: Jeanine Bartel & Graham Halstead

I listened to A Snowy Little Christmas anthology audiobook, which features novellas by Fern Michaels, Tara Sheets, and Kate Clayborn. Each story features a snowed-in moment between the two characters and each has its own spin on the happily ever after. While I listened to the first two stories via audiobook, I actually skipped the audiobook portion for Kate’s book as I previously read it. Therefore, I will combine my ratings for the first two novellas and then do a separate one for Missing Christmas.

Audiobook Length: 7 hours 48 minutes

Starry Night

Author: Fern Michaels

As the host of a radio program for the lovelorn in Chicago, Jessie Richmond is surprisingly lonely, especially with the holidays approaching. So she decides to make the trek to her uncle’s bookstore in rural New York state and hold a speed dating event—only to find herself snowed in—with one very special single . .

Anthologies are a great way for me to try out multiple new authors and get a brief look at their styles to see which ones I want to continue reading. In this anthology setting, I do not think this is the right story to start with as the other two novellas have stronger first lines. The premise of this story is excellent and I love the inclusion of the bookstore. The main character is an advertising exec named Jessie Richmond who also moonlights as the host of a relationship-advice radio show. When her aunt and uncle, who live in Croton-on-Hudson, decide to retire, they give their bookstore to Jessie to finish with renovations and eventually put it on the market so she can keep the sales profit. She eventually meets a contractor, and a single father to his son, Connor, Evan Becker, along with exploring the small-town community.

As this is a novella, I expected the two characters to have a faster road to romance, but it seemed that a lot of time was used to describe too many mundane things, such as clothes or food. While these descriptions are enjoyable in a full-length novel, I would rather have reallocated these lines to learning about Evan aside from the bare minimum that he is a single father, a contractor, and has a connection with Jessie. Due to this, I did not connect at all to Jessie and Evan as a couple. Additionally, the third POV did a lot of telling rather than showing. Overall, this story had a lot of potentials, but, unfortunately, it was not for me. [Actual Rating 2.5]

Mistletoe and Mimosas

Author: Tara Sheets

After years of hard work, real estate agent Layla Gentry has her dream home on Pine Cove Island. She’s perfectly content to be on her own. Until her childhood nemesis, Sebastian, comes to town. When a snowstorm and a stranded kitten bring them together on Christmas Eve, Layla discovers he’s all grown up—and she may have one more dream left . . .

In the second novella in the collection, Layla Gentry and Sebastian Harrington are former high school acquaintances who meet again as adults. I enjoyed that the two characters have a complex backstory that they are able to address as adults. While Sebastian did not participate in bullying Layla, he did nothing to stop it. He has remorse for this past and it was interesting to explore how he would show her that he is no longer that person. In addition to each having a hidden past lingering attraction to each other, there is also the exploration into their different monetary/class standings. Sebastian is from a rich background and Layla is from a poor one.

Meet cutes are always fun in stories and this one has two that bring the characters together. The first is Sebastian is looking for a new home and Layla happens to be a real estate agent. The second is Layla finds herself with a foster kitten and Sebastian happens to be a vet. As the two characters have a complex past with their family backgrounds and the bullying, there was a lot for them to address before they could move forward in their relationship. While I loved this concept, I felt a novella was too short to address even one of these obstacles, let alone both, which made it more difficult to fully root for the two characters. I did enjoy Tara Sheet’s writing style and I enjoyed many elements of this story, so I will definitely have to check out more of her writing. [Actual Rating falls between 3.25 and 3.5]

Published October 27th 2020

Author: Kate Clayborn

It’s all work and no play for longtime friends-turned-business-partners Kristen and Jasper—until an unexpected kiss turns things personal. Will it mean the end of something, or the beginning? With a major contract in the balance, Christmas around the corner, and a lot of unspoken feelings, it may take an unpredictable blizzard in New England to seal the deal . . . 

While this novella was the strongest of the three, for me, I think it would be a lot more enjoyable if I actually read the Chance of a Lifetime series first. This story is a companion novella to the series, so it is not vital to read the original story/series. Even without the backstory of these secondary characters turned main, I felt that Kate did a great job creating a lot of story for less than 100 pages. Missing Christmas is a sweet story about two characters who secretly have feelings for the other and end up having to deal with them when they become business partners.

Kristin and Jasper have been friends for the past six years. Each of them secretly has feelings for the other, but neither is sure about the other’s feelings and they don’t want to risk losing the friendship. As they are also equal business partners, there is an added factor for their hesitation. When the two share an unexpected kiss, they are forced to figure out where they stand. Their build-up to the romance was well done. Both Jasper and Kristin go through some character growth, especially Jasper, and I wish this could have been expanded on. While I still wish that this story was further explored as a full-length novel, I was impressed how many elements for the plot, characters, and setting were all included in a shorter amount of pages.

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