I knew I was going to like Merry & Bright, a collection of chick lit Christmas stories. I had been looking forward to reading it ever since I heard about it…so much so that I actually purchased a copy for my Kobo (this is a big deal for this unemployed book blogger…have to watch what I spend!). I’m thrilled that I bought the book as I didn’t just like it…I LOVED it. The anthology features stories by Lauren Clark, Cindy Arora, Nancy Scarfano, Isabella Louise Anderson, Libby Mercer, and Laura Chapman and is edited by Lucie Simone of Simon and Fig. The ladies did an amazing job and created a fabulous Christmas anthology!
Here’s the description of the collection:
Sip your eggnog, linger under the mistletoe, and make a Christmas wish. Merry & Bright brings you six tales of Christmas cheer, featuring stories of budding romances, Southern charm, lost loves, heaps of humor, and lots of pie by authors Isabella Louise Anderson, Cindy Arora, Laura Chapman, Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer, and Nancy Scrofano. From sunny Los Angeles to the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South, Merry & Bright will take you on a heartwarming adventure you’ll love to visit again and again. Wrap yourself in holiday mirth and prepare to be swept off your feet.
I really liked that Lauren Clark’s story, “A Very Dixie Christmas”, slightly tied into her novel Dancing Naked in Dixie (I loved the book and you can read my review here). I loved that she made sure to give enough background that you could see the connection between the two but you could still read this story as a standalone and not be confused. I also adored the Christmas spirit in this story. Main character PD’s little girl, Ella Rae, is questioning Santa and I loved how she was convinced that Santa really does exist. “A Very Dixie Christmas” was one of my favourite stories in this collection!
Cindy Arora’s story, “Christmas at Mulberry Inn”, was really sweet. I loved that it focused on friends spending the holiday together, main character Saffron and her BFF Taylor, who owns the Inn. They discover their own kind of family during the story though and I loved that. Saffron helped open Taylor’s eyes to a man who was right in front of her and Taylor, in turn, threw Saffron into situations designed to help her get over her divorce. There was a very homey feel to this story, which was interesting since it didn’t actually take place in a home, and that made it feel nice and Christmassy.
I’ve never tried speed dating and I don’t want to. After reading “Ice Dating” by Nancy Scrofano I can now add speed dating on ice skates to my list of things I never want to try! Can you imagine how stressful that’d be? I’m not the world’s most graceful person to begin with so it’d just be a recipe for disaster :) What I liked most about this story was that it was all about finding love in the most unusual ways. Quinn is obviously no stranger to love as she’s been engaged four times. And honestly, that kind of irked me…small thing, I know, but why did it have to be four times? Why not just once? Or even twice? For some reason it just made me think that she was in it purely for the wedding and not the relationship. Unfair, perhaps, but it was how I felt. Anyway. I do love how she met Cameron and how fate seemed to intervene to get them back together.
Isabella Louise Anderson’s story, “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe”, had a picture perfect setting. Main character Lexi is an author (I love when authors write author main characters!) and rents a rural cottage so she can complete her manuscript before her deadline. This was one of the stories that didn’t quite hit the mark for me. In part it was because of the immediate love connection between Lexi and Sterling. It just wasn’t very realistic (or even book realistic) and it was hard for me to get past that. The idea is a solid one but I felt like the story needed just a bit more tweaking so it could really shine.
I loved the idea of a holiday treasure hunt in Libby Mercer’s story, “Secret Santa”. It was a unique idea, at least one I hadn’t run into in a Christmas collection before, and it was refreshing. Plus, I just love Mercer’s writing and the characters she creates! I learned last month that Libby is a fellow tall girl so I giggled when I read that main character Abbie referred to herself as tall. :)
I was SO excited to read my virtual bestie, Laura Chapman’s, story in this collection. I know how hard she’s been working on her story and novel (the recently released Hard Hats and Doormats) so I was thrilled to see her name in a published book! And, I might be biased, but “Twelve Drummers Drumming” was one of my favourite stories in the book! Like Mercer’s story, it was a unique idea for a Christmas story. I can’t say much because I don’t want to ruin it but I adored the surprise at the end!
If you only read one Christmas book this year, make it Merry & Bright. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I couldn’t get enough of it. Some of my favourite chick lit authors have come together to create one fabulous collection that I think everyone can enjoy.