Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas book reviews at a glance

Secret Santa Secret Santa by Sabrina James

Noelle, a hopeless romantic, just knows that her gifts have to be from her senior crush! And geeky Froggy thinks the game is the perfect way to get super-popular Celia to fall for him...except she thinks his gifts are from Jake, the school's resident bad boy, and starts to crush on him! Romantic mishaps abound, but all is revealed the night of the Winter Dance, where there's more than one surprise waiting under the mistletoe!

Summary from

Released: October 2007

256 pages (paperback)

Really quick: Secret Santa was sweet, funny, and satisfying.
There were a lot of characters, I had to keep referring to the diagram on the back of my book to tell who was who in the school-wide secret Santa game. Once I could keep all of the characters straight, they were well-developed and likable.  Secret Santa was a tale of mistaken identity, and crushing on the wrong person, only to find the right one was there with you all along. Predictable, and slightly cheesy, but a great holiday read if you want the happy endings.  My second favorite holiday read (Let it Snow is my first).

Cover 8/10           Plot 9/10         Characters 9/10         Ending 9/10          Overall approval 10/10

Grade 90% A-

Mistletoe by Hailey Abbott, Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friedman, and Nina Malkin


Glittering white snowflakes. The handsome blond ski instructor. The sparkle on a cashmere skirt. Hot cocoa and kisses in front of a crackling fire. The holiday season is the ESSENCE of magic...and romance. Four of today's bestselling teen authors -- Melissa de la Cruz (THE AU PAIRS), Aimee Friedman (SOUTH BEACH), Hailey Abbott (SUMMER BOYS), and Nina Malkin (6X) -- bring us delectable tales of love and lust and holiday cheers (and tears) in this one-of-a-kind collection that teens will devour faster than a plate of Christmas cookies.

Summary from

Released: October 2006

240 pages (paperback)

A collection of unrelated Christmas tales that left me dissatisfied.  After reading Secret Santa, and Dashing Through the Mall, I was looking for “Christmas cheer”.  Mistletoe as a collection was more about scandal than the “feel good romance” I was looking for.  The first story by Aimee Friedman was an exception.  Melissa de la Cruz’s retelling of the Gift of the Magi was also enjoyable-good writing, likeable characters who experience growth, even in such a short story.  I guess I was just soured on the collection in the middle of the book.  Just because I didn’t enjoy it overall doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try though.  I’d really recommend it to those who are already familiar with each of the authors.

Cover 6/10       Plots  7/10       Characters 7/10        Endings    7/10      Overall approval    6/10

Grade 66% D

Dashing Through the Mall by Sherryl Woods, Darlene Gardner, Holly Jacobs


Santa, Baby by Sherryl Woods When Amy Riley's son disappears in the mall, Santa--who is actually police officer Nick DiCaprio--comes to the rescue. Whoever said the Big Red Guy wasn't sexy?
Assignment Humbug by Darlene Gardner Retail manager Joy O'Connell is fraying at the edges when rheumatologist Ed Hall and his three child-terrors enter her store. Between shopping hell and bah humbug, can Ed uncover the true Joy of the season?
Deck the Halls by Holly Jacobs TV reporter Merry Deluca's "'tis the season to be greedy" story is about to get complicated--her new cameraman is recently ex-fiancé Patrick MacFarland! And he's got a whole new angle for her story....

Summary from

Released: November 2006

320 pages (paperback)

I think I picked this up for a quarter at my local library and I am glad I did!  Dashing through the Mall was a collection of chick-lit stories all taking place at the same mall on Christmas Eve in Raleigh, North Carolina.  While the stories shared the same setting, they were independent of one another.  The characters and romances were developed as well as they could be when the stories take place in one day.  It’s a little far-fetched to see the characters kissing by the end of the day, but the stories were all light and happy.  They put me in the mood to play Christmas music, and even to spend time at the mall.  I especially loved Assignment Humbug because the three teenage boys were hilarious, and I loved Joy and Ed’s witty banter.

Cover 8/10        Plots 8/10      Characters  8/10    Endings 8/10      Overall approval  8/10

Grade 80% B-

All of the above were reviewed for the Holiday Reading Challenge hosted by All About {n}