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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mistletoe Rules by Stacey Joy Netzel

Mistletoe Rules by Stacey Joy Netzel
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full (300 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Water Lily

Christmas recipe for love—combine a matchmaking Santa, lots of mistletoe, one iron-clad rule, fated hearts; mix and stir. The Riley siblings don’t stand a chance.

Mistletoe Mischief: Christmas in July at the zoo is the last place single parents Eric Riley and Marissa Wilder expect to find love. Thanks to some mistletoe mischief in the form of their two young daughters and Santa, they discover Mistletoe Rules were not made to be broken.

Mistletoe Magic: Major Mark Riley plays Court Jester to Janelle Walsh's Snow Queen at the Christmas Parade and is instantly captivated by the cute redhead whose grandpa just happens to be Santa. When Mark learns she's the tenant he evicted from his newly purchased property, it's going to take a little bit of Santa's mistletoe magic to save their romance.

Mistletoe Match-up: When Lisa Riley comes home for Mark's Christmas Eve wedding, her high school rivalry with Janelle's cousin, Derek Walsh, picks up right where it left off, only this time Derek's got the upper hand. Santa bides his time as they battle it out because he's waited a whole year for this mistletoe match-up.

I smiled my way through this book.

The three short stories revolve around the three Riley siblings and the family’s Mistletoe Rules—you can’t refuse to kiss when caught beneath mistletoe. No matter who is caught or who you’re caught with, mommies, daddies, little girls...toads.

Mistletoe Mischief, Eric Riley and Marissa Wilder’s story, takes place during a Christmas in July outing at the zoo. Ms. Netzel did a wonderful job showing the conflict that separates these two unhappily divorced, single parents and how fate, and Santa Butch, bring them together. Eric’s daughter, Reese, and Marissa’s Heather were delightful, but my favorite secondary character was Santa Butch. He’s funny, jolly and can’t stop meddling. He (and the Rules) shows up in all three stories.

Mistletoe Magic starts at a Christmas parade. Mark Riley’s car breaks down and he’s rescued by “elf extraordinaire” Janelle Walsh (Santa Butch’s granddaughter) and her team of horses. He has recently returned to town and just closed on a resort he plans to remodel. All he needs to do is evict the old “animal rights nutcase” currently living at the property. Little does he know that nutcase is the very attractive elf he’s been hitting on. Instant conflict. The resolution was a pleasant surprise. Of course, Santa Butch plays a pivotal part.

Mistletoe Match-up is Lisa’s story. The youngest Riley child arrives late to Mark and Janelle’s Christmas Eve wedding in what Janelle’s cousin, Derek, considers “typical Lisa” form. In high school beat out Derek to become the valedictorian, class president, spelling bee name it. Even now, she’s everyone’s darling. She’s beautiful, she’s talented, she’s perfect, she’ a lie.

Each story has a clearly-defined nicely-developed plot and distinct, well-rounded characters. This is the best e-book I’ve read in a while and an absolutely delightful Christmas treat.

Grab this one to de-stress during the holiday rush.