Mini-Reviews: Steamy Holiday Romances

I’m not much of a seasonal reader but the holiday romances have really worked for me this particular holiday season! Having spent the majority of my life living in the tropics, with a few years here and there in countries with four seasons, I actually do miss the cold weather and these reads have allowed me to immerse myself in both holiday cheer and snowy settings.

Dipped in Holly by Dana Isaly

Goodreads: Dipped in Holly
Publication Date: 17 December 2021
Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Holly was just dumped.
Less than a week before Christmas. In public. Dressed as a slutty Mrs. Claus.
All she wants is to hide in the bathroom and have a breakdown in peace.
But the Silver Fox who owns the bar has other plans.

The moment Nick takes in Holly’s grey eyes and sassy attitude, he’s hooked.
There’s no denying the attraction that has sparked between them.
And when that tension finally snaps, he finds himself taking Holly to bed.
A kinky one night stand later, and they’re left questioning if it was enough.

This was only my second book by Dana Isaly but it was exactly what I expected: fun, fast, delightfully steamy and damn kinky. While the ‘daddy kink’ isn’t normally my jam, I really enjoyed it between Holly and Nick (their age gap was perfect), plus the light BDSM taught me that you can get pretty creative with Christmas lights and candy canes! 👀 It goes without saying that Isaly’s steamy scenes are super hot and this one really delivered. 🥵 This was also surprisingly festive and I actually found it kinda sweet at the end? It was insta-lust and though they got together pretty much immediately (I mean, novella) I thought they had great chemistry, and I liked seeing them together—so much so that I legit wouldn’t mind reading about them again.

Overall, this one reeled me in quickly and I had a lot of fun with it! If you’re looking for a fast and festive romance that has a heaping dose of steamy kink then I’d definitely recommend checking this out (FYI it’s on Kindle Unlimited)!

Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert

Goodreads: Merry Inkmas
Publication Date: 01 December 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(3 pandas)

He wants her soul. Too bad she already sold it. 
Family is everything to gambling den darling, Teresa Valentini. Blood comes first, especially before men. So when her brother lands himself in hot water, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to save him. And showing up topless in her unwitting savior’s motel room is turning out to be the furthest thing from a hardship…

Will Caruso is the bad boy of New York’s financial scene…and he just found out the very thing that drives his success is a damn lie. Now, he’s exchanged his high-stress life for the open road, no one but his Great Dane…and half a million Instagram followers to keep him company. When a mysterious beauty arrives, her secrecy prods his suspicions, even while she tempts his lust to the breaking point.

Teresa met Will under false pretenses, but the bond consuming them is real. They’re strong enough to overcome a little betrayal…aren’t they? 

I sort of enjoyed this but I also felt like something was missing and I expected a little bit more. Bailey and Cash were easy-to-like characters whom I enjoyed getting to know. Bailey was a hard-working and feisty heroine who knew what she wanted and what she deserved and she wasn’t scared to demand it. Cash was a bit more stoic and had a touch more of the ‘asshole’ factor compared to Hibbert’s heroes that I’ve read to date, and while it did kinda fit with his character arc, I also felt like there was a connection I missed with him; I found it weird because technically he’s everything I love in a romance hero! I think the hot/cold moments between them is also why I found their romance a bit lacking, too. They’re so caught up in their pasts, which were very heartbreaking, but I found that they needed to actually talk to each other and be more open about these deep-rooted issues to move forward romantically. I also didn’t like that everything Bailey learned about Cash’s history wasn’t from him but from his family, and then when it came time for them to properly talk, it felt rushed and brushed over for the HEA.

That said, this did have a lot of sweet (albeit maybe corny) moments and it’s also a story full of kindness. I wish we had seen more of John after they helped him out, and I really hope that we get stories for the other characters in Cash’s tattoo shop. Like, please, I need Gem’s story ASAP?! She was hilarious and I loved her bright energy!

Twelve Naughty Days Anthology

Goodreads: Twelve Naughty Days
Publication Date: 14 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotica

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… TWELVE NAUGHTY DAYS

Cancel your plans, because twelve of the hottest romance authors have teamed up to bring you a delicious holiday treat: a series of never-before-seen short stories inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas. Each of the authors will have an unforgettable, steamy story. Set to one of the twelve days in the popular Christmas song, it will be perfect for you to sink your teeth into this holiday season.

Including original works by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors: K.A. Linde, Skye Warren, Fiona Cole, Nana Malone, Claire Contreras, Nikki Sloane, Giana Darling, Sierra Simone, CD Reiss, Laurelin Paige, M. Malone, Angelina M. Lopez

On sale for a very limited time at just $3.99! All proceeds benefit suicide prevention and will be donated to the Trevor Project.

I’ve only read books by two of these authors before but there are plenty on here that have been on my “want to try” list and so I eagerly picked this one up and I’m glad that I did! Anthologies are kind of hit/miss for me but I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the majority of these stories, although there were one or two that had me questioning why they were included at all. That said, I’m definitely looking forward to trying a few of these authors’ full-length romances asap!

It’s a given that all (save one) were smutty romances; a few had light BDSM elements and other kinks, there’s a throuple and a taboo romance as well. What I liked most was the way the authors incorporated the 12 Days of Christmas into their stories—a lot of them were really creative and fun and definitely not what I expected. If I had to pick favourites they’d be One Cruel Wedding Night and My Present This Year.

Overall, if you’re looking for a Christmas anthology full of steamy goodness, I would definitely recommend checking it out. Plus, you’ll be supporting a good cause as all proceeds will be donated to the Trevor Project!

One Cruel Wedding Night– 4.5/5
Two Turtle Doves – 2/5
Goner – 4/5
Four Calling Birds – 3.5/5
Five Golden Rings – 3/5
On the Sixth Day – 4/5
Swan Song – 3/5
My Present This Year – 4.5/5
Nine Dancing Ladies – 1/5
Ten Dirty Demands – 4/5
Gift Me – 3.75/5
Twelve Drummers – 3/5

Do you enjoy reading holiday romances? What are some of your favourites? Please share your recs—I’d love to read them! 😍

6 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Steamy Holiday Romances

  1. I like the way you broke out the anthology stories individually, I should really start doing that as well. They’re so hard to judge since there’s such a range! Glad there were at least a couple that shone in the collection ☺️ although like half the authors just decided against the number theme? XD

    Liked by 1 person

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