The Magical Christmas Cat by Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh, and Linda Winstead Jones

Released: October 7, 2008
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 372
Publisher: Berkley Sensation

Source: Personal shelf

New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh and top-selling authors Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead Jones have a special gift for readers this year: heartwarming holiday stories featuring passionate romance, paranormal adventure, and a distinctly alluring feline touch. With four new stories-including one featuring Lora Leigh’s genetically altered Feline Breeds-this is a collection packed with more surprises than Christmas morning, and more chills than the snowiest winter night…

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s been a while since I reviewed an anthology on the blog. I’d forgotten how labour intensive it can be! This is another one of the book I purchased at bookcloseouts.ca‘s amazing sale in July. It’s been on my radar for a while and I was hoping it would show up at the public library since I wasn’t familiar with Erin McCarthy or Linda Winstead Jones’ work but I figured it was worth the $2.49 investment when it popped up on bookcloseout.ca. I should probably add that I was a bit wary of purchasing it because the idea of a magical cat and Christmas didn’t sell me 100%, particularly when combined with the cat on the cover, who looks blissed out on some sort of hallucinogenic.

But enough about that. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the four stories in The Magical Christmas Cat.

Stroke of Enticement by Nalini Singh

I was looking forward to this story the most since I’m a huge fan of her Psy~Changeling series. (I know, I know, I haven’t written about any of these books on the blog but I will soon. Promise.)

Annie is a teacher at a school that a lot of the DarkRiver changeling children attend. One of these kids, Bryan, hits another changeling kid and his uncle Zach is the one Annie ends up dealing with. Sparks fly, romance ensues, mild bumps along the way since it’s a short story and you can’t have really big bumps due to length constraints.

I really liked both Annie and Zach. They are well fleshed out despite the shorter length of the story and their chemistry jumps off the page. It’s also nice to see some of the characters who were central in other novels appear as secondary characters in Stroke of Enticement. It was also great to get some more insight into Changeling society. I think this is a great entry into the series and I hope to see Annie And Zach pop up again.

Oh, and the magical cat part? That’s Zach himself. 🙂

Christmas Bree by Erin McCarthy

Bree, a witch, and Ian, a lawyer, first met a year ago and have been having dirty dreams about each other ever since. They meet again when Ian comes to Bree’s family home carrying an offer to buy her house from a millionaire. This time, the magical cat is Bree’s pet, who’s walking around with mistletoe that was enchanted to stir up lust hanging out of her mouth.

This is the first time I’ve read Erin McCarthy and, I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with the story. The title was off-putting and the premise of shared dreams propelling their love didn’t really work for me. I thought Bree and her sisters were nice characters but Ian didn’t seem very three dimensional to me. Plus, I feel like the end of the story wrapped up quite quickly and I wasn’t totally satisfied by it.

Christmas Bree‘s written in such a way that it’s obviously meant to set up other stories. I checked the author’s website and it turns out I’m right — this is the first story in Erin McCarthy’s Ohio’s Most Haunted Town series. It continues in An Enchanted Season, which I also got on super sale so we’ll see how it goes.

Sweet Dreams by Linda Winstead Jones

This story was also a big question mark even though I’ve read a couple of Linda Winstead Jones‘ books.

The magical cat in this outing is a small statue that contains a demon bent on collecting nine souls. He has eight already and Ruby is being set up to be his ninth. Her neighbour, Zane Benedict, wants to stop this from happening, but he’s not sure who’s helping the demon.

Ruby and Zane definitely start out on a sour note, mostly because he’s kind of rude to her. That all changes once he learns she’s been chosen and it was fun to watch them come together. I particularly liked the mythology in the story. The flashbacks to the previous victims and the way we learn more about the demon and those who try to stop it are well written and I really enjoyed the whole idea.

Christmas Heat by Lora Leigh

Christmas Heat is set in the Breed world. For those unfamiliar with the series, Breeds are genetically altered with predator DNA. Because of this genetic manipulation, they experience a mating heat when they find their true mate.

In this installment, Haley is a human librarian who happens to witness people working against the Breeds. As a result, they’re trying to kill her while one of the Breed soldiers, Noble, is dead set on protecting her, particularly since she’s his mate, something he’s neglected to mention to her.

Haley and Noble have great chemistry and, as always in Lora Leigh‘s books, the sex is pretty detailed since this one definitely comes with a parental advisory. I really enjoyed the emotional side of their relationship, as well as the way the story fits into the bigger plot lines of the Breed series.

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