Never Christmas Without You a two-novella Christmas anthology from Nana Malone and Reese Ryan is a must read for anyone who loves contemporary romance with fabulous characters. I love holiday romances but these two stories brought the magic of Christmas and the love of family and friends deep into my heart.
I have a confession to make. I hadn’t planned to read Nana Malone’s story. I’ve never read her books before and I’m so busy right now but I thought I should read her story, Just for the Holidays so I could review Reese’s story since they are together in this anthology. I mean, really, a review of half the book seemed wrong. So…
I read the first few pages and fell in love with Grandma Lucy. I know she is a California woman but she could be a southern grandma. She’s the grandmother I want to be. She is a take charge and tell it like it is character and while she is secondary to the story, she is the main reason I read the whole story! I love to read and as a writer, I look at story and form and character development. Sometimes, being a writer can ruin the reading experience. When I fall in love with the characters and the story is so good I forget how it’s made, that is a great story and that is what these two authors did for me. Their stories gave me so much joy I forgot about tense, point of view, and all of the things I’ve been taught. I simply fell into the story and experienced being with best friends Alex and Justin as they discover what has been right beside them all along. Nana Malone wove together a story that had me feeling the characters’ passion, pain and confusion. I rooted for them and commiserated with them. I laughed at Grandma Lucy’s manipulation and the attitude of strong women who aren’t afraid to make things happen.
Nana Malone has a new fan and I will definitely be looking for more of her books.
Reese Ryan will be hosting a two-part workshop for the Pamlico Writers’ Group Saturday, October 14th, 2017 in Washington, North Carolina, “Building Believable Characters” and “Creating Functional, Yet Compelling, Secondary Characters.” His Holiday Gift is proof that Reese knows what she is talking about. I’d only read a few pages when I had to email Ms. Ryan and curse her for making me cry.
I want a little girl like Maddie. The texture and depth Reese was able to bring to this short story is amazing. The characters are so real. I cried for Maddie meeting her father for the first time. I felt the love, pain and longing of Dash and Mikayla who were once friends. Their estrangement, part of the reason Maddie and Dash never met before.
I love second chance stories and stories of children bringing lovers together. Reese Ryan wove together ideas into a fabulous holiday love story.
Dash is the bad boy, prodigal returned to his small town with the weight of all the mistakes he’s ever made heavy on his shoulders. Having his best friend back at his side is encouraging and confusing. For Mikayla, her unrequited love for Dash simmers just below the surface. Can she trust him with her heart after all that has happened between them? This time, it’s not just her heart he might break.
Ms. Anna, Dash’s mother, is another well thought out secondary character she adds another dimension to the story making it feel like a real world.
Even Reese’s walk-on characters are complete people, their stories revealed with only a few lines. The rich tapestry of this story is what romance is all about. Reese Ryan has created a world I want to dive into. Her characters are friends and family I could have at my dinner table and enjoy knowing. Her Pleasure Cove series is one I’ve enjoyed experiencing. It’s not just a story, it’s a vacation.