All I Want for Christmas – Beers, Cummings, Riley

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Three high quality Christmas novellas. I enjoyed all of them for different reasons and am actually struggling to decide on an overall rating so I’ve rated them all individually below:

Triple Dog Dare – Georgia Beers

5 stars – I loved this story. Sasha was interesting as Brooke’s boss in 16 Steps to Forever but she’s great in this. I love the premise of needing a fake girlfriend for Christmas in order to try and win a date from your sister. Sasha and Kennedy are great both as a fake couple and a real one. I loved the back any forth between Sasha’s sister and Kennedy as she tried to trip them up and how Beers deals with the grief of lost ones at Christmas, the emotions around really falling for one another and the guilt in lying without making this a heavy story. I’d have loved this if it was a full novel too.

Hustle & Bustle – Maggie Cummings

4 stars – Toby is a cop with a social work background. She’s sweet and romantic at heart. She meets Hannah at Central Park Christmas market where she’s running a stall. I liked the diversity snuck into the story and enjoyed spending time in New York during the Christmas season. I enjoyed this storyline but I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed it as much without the New York setting. The narrative is sweet and sincere, with as much of a slow burn sweetness as is possible to get in a novella. The epilogue left me sated with a nice ending to Toby and

A Christmas Miracle – Fiona Riley

3.5 stars – I haven’t had the opportunity to read Bet on Me yet, so I’m only aware that Mira is a character in the novel and am coming to this not knowing anything else about her. I enjoyed this story but wasn’t able to connect with it as much as the other two works. I liked both Mira and Courtney as characters and they work well together on the page. This had more angst in it than the other stories due to the tensions at work for Courtney and the issues Mira was having her bar due to staffing so I felt pulled out of the Christmas fantasy a little. The humour was enjoyable though and I liked the journey both characters took in the short period of time the story covered.

I’d happily recommend this collection to anyone looking for some fun wlw Christmas reads.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bulletproof – Maggie Cummings

Rating: 4 out of 5.
I really liked this book, it’s a satisfying four star read that in another release month might have led me to lean more towards a low five star, but compared to a couple of others this month it doesn’t quite reach there. I really loved how Cummings mixes the police operations with the relationship and romance side of things – and my favourite part of reading this was actually how much the relationship between the two MCs shines through.

Dylan is a detective for the NYPD working vice when she stumbles across a conversation in a bar and finds herself transferred to major crimes to make use of the information she’s learned. She has a reputation in her neighbourhood as a butch that’s down for no-strings attached. She meets Briana socially, they clearly have chemistry, and then they discover Briana is the AUSA on Dylan’s new case, putting the brakes on things.

I love it when I come across a book where the two main characters are depicted as not looking for relationships, then fall for each other. Cummings has done this aspect of the narrative really really well – delving deeply into the feelings experienced when someone has a reputation as a player and then finds themselves giving themselves to someone deeply. I really enjoyed the experiences of Dylan in this regard. I liked how their relationship softened Briana and showed her that career and love can happen.

There is the introduction of some secondary characters that are well written, but contribute to the angst, both in the workplace and in their personal lives. I appreciated the inclusion of a trans character – especially as Cummings didn’t pretend that this character would have had it easy in the police force.

Whilst the angst element of the book was done slightly differently within the normal tropes, and I can understand and empathise with Dylan’s feelings, the angst part of the book is the reason I can’t quite make it a five star, as I wanted them to fight for each other sooner.

I’d definitely recommend this one to romance fans and fans of cop based books in wlw fiction. I’m definitely going to be exploring more of Cummings’ work.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.