Falling for the Big Sky–HOLIDAY HEAT: THE MEN OF STARLIGHT BEND–Review

holidayheat_btbannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a boxed set of 5 All-New, Never-Before-Published Holiday Romances for .99¢! Holiday Heat: The Men of Starlight Bend is now LIVE and features stories by Jennifer Ashley, Erin Quinn, Calista Fox, Mary Leo, and Jennifer Probst! I’ve dipped deep into the collection and definitely recommend it for readers that enjoy Christmas romances with a little western and mythical twist.

erinquinn_starlightbend_2d_hrAbout this boxed set:
Starlight Bend is a cozy Montana town nestled between glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains. This Christmas, holiday magic is in the air and wishes can come true–all it takes is believing. Visit us in Starlight Bend and meet five sexy, heartwarming heroes and the women who steal their hearts…

Snowbound in Starlight Bend ~ Jennifer Ashley
Haley McKee is furious to find herself stuck in the tiny town of Starlight Bend so near Christmas, helped out by the handsome Maddox Campbell, a cowboy who’s not impressed with her fancy job titles and parents’ money. In fact, no one has given her this much crap her entire life. But there’s a lot more to Maddox than at first seems–he’s a hard-working man who gives much of his time and patience to help those who have little. When a spark of Christmas magic promises Haley all she wants, will she make her wish with her head or her heart?

The Long Gone Girl of Starlight Bend ~ Erin Quinn
Kari has big plans that are about to pay off, and she doesn’t have time for tall, dark, and amazing Ty Timberlake. Ty knows he’s in trouble as soon as he meets smart, beautiful Kari. He understands her goals, but knows the rat race won’t make her happy. Kari is hell-bent on making her mark and moving onto the next challenge; Ty is determined to win her love and make her stay. As Christmas approaches, Kari begins to question what she wants. Should she stick to her plan and be long gone by the New Year, or choose the man who’s stolen her heart?

His Angel of Starlight Bend ~ Calista Fox
Anna Voss and Nick Hoffman are Starlight Bend’s star-crossed lovers. They were inseparable growing up, but destined for different paths. They haven’t seen each other in over a decade, but this Christmas, Nick returns home—with some startling surprises that turn Anna’s world upside down.
Love and desire have always burned bright between these two, but they’re both haunted by the past. Yet there’s a mystical entity working in their favor this time around—if they can open their hearts and minds to a destiny rewritten, with the help of family and a little holiday magic…

Ropin’ the Lone Cowboy of Starlight Bend ~ Mary Leo
Jolie Shepherd didn’t want to spend Christmas alone. So when she accepts an open invitation for a visit to Starlight Bend, Montana from her best friend, Jolie expects to pass most of the holiday season holed up inside a rustic cabin, not playing cowgirl with quite possibly the most adorable cowboy in the entire state. Red Weisman is a man who prefers to ride alone . . . that is until he meets Jolie Shepherd. Once they team up to grant a Christmas wish for a needy child, something magical happens between them. Now all they have to do is believe . . . but can they?

The Grinch of Starlight Bend ~ Jennifer Probst
Noah used to be a beloved member of the Starlight Bend community, until a tragedy turns to betrayal and drives him into solitude. His face horribly scarred, he retreats to his mountain top mansion—until a stubborn social worker asks for a Christmas wish to help a sick child. He never expects to fall for the spitfire, do-gooder, but when she offers love as the solution, can he let go of the past? When Josephine convinces Noah to host a Winter Carnival, she’s intrigued by the fascinating man hiding a bruised heart. But will her love be enough for him to take a chance on a brand new future?

My Review:
This five-book set seems to have a theme regarding city slickers coming to Starlight Bend, and being enchanted by the simple, straight-talking locals. Also, there’s a sweet thread of the mystical running through each story, regarding a certain Wishing Tree for poor kids to hang their Christmas wishes upon, and a maybe-too-authentic Santa with the power to make romantic wishes come true. Those elements tie the books together, but none of them seem connected otherwise–no repeating characters, that is.

The series kicks off in Snowbound in Starlight Bend by Jennifer Ashley with a hardware store CEO, Haley McKee, who lands in a snowbank. She’s rescued, on horseback, by cowboy and horse trainer Maddox Campbell. Haley’s distraught at the idea of not making it home to Seattle for Christmas with her father. He’s been single since her mom left, twenty-ish years ago, and they have a tremendous bond. Maddox’s only family, Aunt Jane, is a town pillar, and takes Haley under her wing straight away. There’s friction between Maddox and Haley, but not enough to thwart their building passion. Both of them are rather lonely, solitary people. This unintentional break is the first “vacation” Haley’s had in years. And, Maddox isn’t about to let the feisty woman escape with out bleeding out a little passion.

This one has a sweet core, but I didn’t quite connect. I think I had problems with the pacing, and the ending, and other parts, all seemed to happen too fast, or without the right context for me to really catch on.

However, the second story, The Long Gone Girl of Starlight Bend by Erin Quinn got all up in my feels! Kari is a boutique men’s outfitter, and she’s arrivedin Starlight Bend to open her fifth store. Her brand HardWear is chic clothes for the rugged man, and it’s poised to get picked up by a department store chain, if she can just build a little bit more momentum. She meets Ty Timberlake on the eve of taking possession of his estranged father’s local hardware shop, not knowing who he is, other than the sexy history teacher currently propping up the bar beside her. Their night together is a bonfire in the darkness, and Ty wants more. Kari’s afraid to commit herself, because she only planned to pen her shop and stick around for the first couple months before looking for the next opportunity, elsewhere.

Funny thing about plans…Kari can’t stay away from Ty, and he’s doing his level best to keep her here. He’s full of good stuff, high ideals, and gentlemanly ways, but Kari’s grasped for success so long, she’s not sure what it would mean to let go, make a new plan, dream a new dream. It’s an emotional read, especially when you factor in the repair of Ty and his father’s relationship, and the Wishing Tree gifts Kari hunts out for a down-on-their-luck family. Tears, I tellz ya!

His Angel of Starlight Bend by Calista Fox is a second-chance romance for childhood sweethearts reuintied decades later when Nick returns to Starlight bend, with his son, to care for his ailing grandmother. Anna and Nick grew up in Starlight Bend, and were the best of friends and first lovers until college and careers separated them. Anna had a child who died, and takes to Nick’s son, Jake a quiet, respectful boy who really loves the animals Anna cares for at her veterinary clinic.

Now that Nick’s in town, however, Anna’s feeling less like the spinster, but wary to fully reclaim the love of her life–expecting Nick will disappear as he always has. Lots of poignant moments, and some hard truths, but a sweet tale filled with love and hope. Had a little confusiong regarding the time line of everything, honestly, because it seemed they’d been separated by at least fifteen, maybe twenty, years, in order to create such professional lives, yet the book hints that it’s roughly a decade. That’s a peeve, for me, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the read.

That’s as far as I got since the book came out on Tuesday. It’s a thick one! Definitely recommend it for the price alone.

Interested? You can find HOLIDAY HEAT: THE MEN OF STARLIGHT BEND for a mere $.99 on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo,

Catch up with the many authors online…
JENNIFER PROBST: website | Facebook | Twitter

JENNIFER ASHLEY: Website | Facebook | Twitter

MARY LEO: Website | Facebook | Twitter

CALISTA FOX: Website | Facebook | Twitter

ERIN QUINN: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
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