Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86473-7
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Is Nana Malone officially the resident Kimani short story lady? It seems like they are putting out her story coupled to one more story written by an author who, I don’t know, picked the shortest straw or something. Unwrapping the Holidays is the Christmas one. Don’t worry, though, whether it’s Christmas or Yom Kippur, the story lines and the tropes remain the same.
Nana Malone’s Hot Coded Christmas is an Idiot CEO Heroine story. Jamison Reed, our heroine, owns Cyberpunked, a gaming company. Their recent game, targeted at sassy girls, was critically acclaimed by the sales were not as amazing, so Cyberpunked is going to join the countless companies ran into the ground by a romance heroine if Jamie didn’t get anything done. What, you expect her to court investors, start a Kickstarter or Indiegogo, etc? Don’t be ridiculous, those are unworkable ideas! Jamie would just spend money she doesn’t have throwing a company event for the 50 staff members and then worry. The fact that a small startup gaming company has 50 – 50! – staff members, instead of outsourcing things, should already tell you what an idiot the heroine is.
Cole Nichols – yes, everything rhymes, and I can only wonder whether equally rhyme-y Asshole is his middle name – wants to buy Cyberpunked, but soon he and Jamie are creating their own baby code together. Ah, but what will happen when Jamie learns that she’s been getting it from a wealthy man with cash to spare, who is interested in her company? SHE WILL NEVER SELL! SHE CANNOT RETRENCH ANY OF HER STAFF AND SHE WILL NOT DO ANYTHING TO CHANGE THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE COMPANY! NEVER!
Since she ends up marrying that guy anyway, the joke’s on her at the end of the day.
Sigh. This is why, people, if you are an employee in a romance novel setting and your CEO is a romance heroine, you should waste no time sending out your CV and make sure that you know where all the exits are.
Sheryl Lister’s Be Mine for Christmas is a fling story. Maya Brooks got her wedding dreams dashed recently, so she goes off for some R&R and meets a hot baker, Ian Jeffries. He starts imagining what chocolate tastes against her skin – no, really – and I can only think, “Tastes like chocolate, maybe? And bit of sweat, I suppose?” Now, I love eating chocolates, but no way is any man going to dip any part of me in chocolate – getting rid of it would probably be a bothersome, sticky mess and I can only imagine the nightmare it’d be on the hair. What if he’s a cannibal serial killer? Fortunately, Ian turns out to be reasonably normal, all things considered, and it’s all mostly about the heroine acting like she’d die if she sits back and enjoy a fling. She doesn’t want love, and then spends interminable words whining about love – Maya is that kind of heroine.
This is why romance heroines who have been recently jilted should be dragged off to a compulsory stay at a loony bin for at least a month, so that when they do come out and start looking for men to stick like a barnacle onto, they’d be less overwrought and melodramatic.
Needless to say, two ugh-worthy stories make Unwrapping the Holidays a tedious chore to slough through.