5 Stars / Anthology / Contemporary / Review

Review: That Mistletoe Moment Anthology by by Cat Johnson Kate Angell & Allyson Charles

As the holidays descend, three single women take a thoroughly modern approach to good old-fashioned romance, and wonder if the best—and most complicated—gift of all is just a click, tap, or swipe away…

Like a Christmas miracle, the Build a Boyfriend App lets you simply input the stats of your dream man, and witty texts, passionate emails, and hot Instagram pics start flooding in. No more awkward questions or pitying looks as you face the holidays alone!

But even the best technology has its glitches. When real-life emotions come into play, this trio of twenty-somethings find themselves in a tangle of crossed signals, flying wrapping paper, disastrous Christmas parties…and surprising kisses.

Yet despite the confusion of their mistletoe misadventures, when the New Year dawns, these very satisfied women just may find themselves waking up with true love beside them.

Title:That Mistletoe Moment:
A Boyfriend by Christmas
All I Want for Christmas Is…
Her Favorite Present
Author:Cat Johnson
Kate Angell
Allyson Charles
Category / Genre(s):Anthology
Trope(s):Christmas Romance
Point of View:
Release Date:27th September, 2016
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Three fabulous Christmas tales

Okay, okay – I’ll admit that it’s the hottest day of the year (at least here in Scotland) and I’m sitting here reading Christmas stories and dreaming of chilly snow, roaring fires and hot chocolate. And I’m loving every minute of it.

I’m a card carrying member of the ‘I love Christmas’ club which, I’ll admit, does make it a little bit more difficult to impress me with festive stories. I keep trying nonetheless, hoping that I’ll find a wee gem that fills you with the spirit of Christmas no matter the time of year.

These three stories are connected by one thing: The Build-a-Boyfriend mobile app which allows you to pretend to have a boyfriend, especially handy over Christmas when you’re avoiding that ‘are you still single?’ question.

A Boyfriend by Christmas by Cat Johnson

Noelle decides being alone is better than staying with her long time boyfriend who is definitely Mr. Wrong, but there’s no way she’s attending the annual holiday party alone knowing her ex will be there. She needs a new boyfriend by Christmas Eve. Good thing there’s an app for that and the perfect mate—or the illusion of one—is only a text away.

There is normally one great story in any anthology and as soon as I started reading, I had this tale pegged as having that honour. Noelle is a great character, in a long term relationship but really only because they’ve both fallen into it. She and Nathan have such an adorable ‘meet cute’ as well as a great chemistry together. Nicki – Noelle’s sister – is also a great character and I had to laugh at the banter between the siblings as Nicki forces Noelle to make up a boyfriend to save face after just being dumped.

I was a bit surprised by the quickness of the declaration and proposal but that’s more based on the length of the story as opposed to the quality of the tale. I could have done with the story being longer but that’s the mark of a really good short story.

A sprinkling of festive touches, enjoyable characters and a nice smattering of sexiness makes this a really great tale. I’m now on the lookout for some longer stories by Cat Johnson – her writing style and storytelling could make her a future favourite.

All I Want for Christmas Is… by Kate Angell

It’s Christmas and Riley Tyler is desperate to land the job as personal shopper to CEO Daniel Hayes. Not only has she to find the perfect gift for the uptight businessman, she has to find herself the perfect boyfriend at the same time so she looks like the perfect candidate. The Build-a-Boyfriend app is a lifesaver, until it’s standing in the way of happily ever after.

Kate Angell is the only of the three authors in this anthology that I have read before but seeing as that was a long time ago, I’m as unfamiliar with her newer works as I am the others. I had already pegged Cat Johnson’s story as the great story in this collection so imagine my surprise when this story managed to delight me as much as the first.

The story is not new – straight laced CEO meets free-spirited, quirky girl and finds love as well as the joy of the season. The way that this story stands out is that it’s so subtley done and the characters written so true to life that it never feels the same as others or too standard.

Daniel was great character – I especially loved the way he was baffled and intrigued by Riley. Riley herself was fun, likeable and while quirky, was probably more like your average girl than many other heroines.

The Christmas present challenge, snowstorm and Christmas decorations really gave this tale a touch of Christmas but the descriptions of the ornaments really gave it a some festive magic. Lovely.

If I did have a very minor criticism (I admit I started to feel like I had to find something so I wouldn’t be waxing lyrical about all the stories!) then it would be that the sexual tension that built up between Daniel and Riley when they were being kept apart by Riley’s ‘boyfriend’, slightly dissipated when the pair finally got together. Again, I would have loved to read more about this pair and their story.

Her Favorite Present by Allyson Charles

Gabe Harrison is determined to make himself and his company – Build-A-Boyfriend – a success. Too bad that he seems to be losing the respect of his co-founder and best friend for labelling his app users as losers. So a bet is born. All he needs to do is prove that the women using the Build-A-Boyfriend app are pathetic and he wins. It’s also too bad that Rachel Sanders is the furthest thing from pathetic and while he’s still all about winning – the prize is now Rachel’s heart.

Okay, this story must be especially rubbish in order to make up for the first two, excellent stories, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. This tale was also amazing – this time going for a different spin on the Build-a-Boyfriend theme. Sure Rachel was a user of the app but, unknown to her, Gabe is the CEO and developer of the company.

The way this tale worked so well was because at the start, Gabe wasn’t a particularly nice guy. Oh, he wasn’t terrible but he was a bit of a dick to be honest. The fact that by the end of the story I was not only liking him but rooting for him, just shows what a good job the author did.

There’s plenty of heat in this tale – definitely a story to revisit on a cold winter’s night. Delicious! Rachel and Gabe were just perfect for each other and I especially liked their teasing banter and the fact that Rachel wouldn’t give an inch and didn’t fawn all over the handsome Gabe.

I could have done with a wee bit more grovelling from Gabe at the conclusion of the story but there was still a satisfying conclusion.

I really can’t quite believe that I’ve found an anthology where I really enjoyed all the stories. All three authors have delivered with a great, contemporary tale that will warm your cockles and get you into that festive Christmas mood. I would highly recommend this anthology and recommend that you get your hands on a copy, get yourself settled in and ready for Christmas no matter what month it is.

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