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Monday, April 20, 2009

Magical Kisses: A Jewels of the Quill Valentine's Day Anthology

Magical Kisses: A Jewels of the Quill Valentine’s Day Anthology by Various Authors
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary; Holiday (Valentine’s Day)
Length: Full (334 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Lilac

Rediscover the magic and romance of Valentine’s Day!

Six JEWELS OF THE QUILL AUTHORS offer stories featuring magical kisses—straight from the heart!

A collection of love stories for readers to enjoy on Valentine’s Day...or any day of the year!

In this Valentine’s Day anthology, six authors have created stories that are sure to warm the heart.

Up first in the anthology is Carrie S. Masek’s “Magic Kisses,” a delightful story in which a young woman sets out to play matchmaker for her new neighbor, but the two find that fate is a funny thing. This was a highly entertaining story with an interesting plot and likeable characters. Cynical Brett believes that Eliza is a bit flaky upon first meeting her when she offers to read his palm and I enjoyed watching as these two very different people found love despite Eliza’s attempts to set him up on some very interesting dates.

Next in the anthology is “Telephone Tag Winner” by Dee Lloyd, a charming story in which a series of unfortunate events on Valentine’s Day, including an auto accident and a misdialed phone number, leads to a reunion between two former flames. This was a bit of a suspenseful tale but in this short story it all felt a bit rushed. I do wish that a bit more attention had been paid to this aspect as I found it to be quite interesting. As for the romance of the story, I enjoyed the relationship between the main characters as what could have been a disastrous Valentine’s Day turns into the best thing that could have happened for the heroine.

“Winning Sylvia’s Heart” is Nancy Pirri’s entry in this anthology and it was truly a sweet and fun story. When Sylvia breaks up with her fiancé, her neighbor Jack sets out to woo her with the most romantic Valentine’s Day she can imagine. This was a very sweet and fast-paced story and I fell in love with Jack as he was quite the gentleman and very romantic.

Jane Toombs’ “The Third Kiss,” the next story is quite interesting. In the story Gail learns as a child from her grandmother that the third kiss is quite magical, provided it comes from the same man who gave you your first kiss. The short story follows Gail as she receives her kisses and finds love when she least expects it. This was a highly romantic and sweet story, but it was a bit too short for my tastes. I would have loved to have seen more of Gail and Augie’s life as time went by rather than the brief glimpses this short story provides. But despite this, I loved the whole concept.

The next entry, “Atop the Wedding Cake” by Karen Woods proves that love knows no age limits as Cathy Baker, a widow, prepares for her daughter’s wedding and finds herself falling for her daughter’s soon-to-be father-in-law, who just happens to be Cathy’s brother’s good friend. I really enjoyed this sweet story and the relationship between the main couple. It was refreshing to see two people who both had happy marriages with their deceased spouses find love for a second time.

The final story of the anthology, “In Cahoots with Cupid” by Karen Wiesner, is a bit more complex and heartbreaking than the other stories. Kiowa Mackenzie has been in love with Angela for years, but she is reluctant to get involved with him because of their age difference and a bad marriage that has soured her on love. But when Angela returns home for a wedding, Kiowa decides to take steps to win her over. This was an interesting story and not quite as lighthearted as some of the other stories in the anthology, but it was no less romantic or enjoyable. Angela has faced a painful past and I truly felt for both her and for Kiowa as he longed to ease her pain and love her if she would only let him.

Overall, this was an enjoyable anthology featuring a variety of characters and romances all centered around Valentine’s Day. While I do wish that many of the stories had been a bit more developed and perhaps even longer, I still enjoyed reading this anthology. From reuniting with an old flame to falling for a neighbor to finding love with a good friend each story and relationship proved that love can be found when and where you least expect it.