Below is the blurb for each short story and my thoughts in italics.
(Sweet Tea and Kisses: A Contemporary Romance Boxed Set) Discover the alluring world of the South with six sweet contemporary romance novellas from New York Times, USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.
Chase fireflies that glitter on starry nights, listen to the call of the cicadas, and smell the luscious scent of magnolias as you experience the adventures of cowboys, brides, second chances, and unexpected romance all set in Atlanta. Don’t miss your chance to fall deeper in love as you explore the South through the eyes and hearts of these unforgettable characters.
A Kiss is Just a Kiss by Melinda Curtis, USA Today Bestselling Author. Kitty Summer has a wedding to stop. She’s sure the groom doesn’t love her sister, but how can she prove it? By testing his fidelity with one very public kiss, of course.
I believe this was my favorite from the boxed set. Kitty and Beck were both strong personalities and that made the sparks fly. That first kiss was more than they both bargained for! I loved everything about the story, from the angry words, the road trip where everything that could go wrong did, sassy grandma Dotty, and the heart wrenching moment when Kitty tells Maggie, "Just...don't hurt him." The best part was Kitty and Beck were both trying to do what was right at the expense of their own happiness. Thank goodness for Maggie!
I give this a 4.5, with a Clean rating.
Taste of Tara by Shanna Hatfield, USA Today Bestselling Author. Falling in love never tasted so sweet… Pastry chef Tara Tarleton has one month to live out her dreams on a plantation in the South. Reality falls far short of her expectations until a chance encounter with a hunky horse wrangler changes her mind.
This was a cute story, and although I like the way it wasn't a play by play retelling of Gone With the Wind in modern times, I felt the connection was forced at time. Bret instead of Rhet for instance. There were lots of little things like that where I felt the author was trying to hard to make me think of Gone With the Wind, when Tara and Bret's story would have been just as good and compelling without it.
As far as the romance, I appreciated the natural progression of their affection. I give this one a 3.75 to 4. I enjoyed it, just wanted to lose the correlations being forced on me.
The Wedding Charm by Susan Hatler, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author. In order to retrieve and deliver an antique charm before her best friend’s wedding, maid of honor Sarah Carlton must fake being in love with her childhood nemesis, best man Ben Atkins.
This story give "A Kiss is Just a Kiss" a run for the spot of my favorite story from the collection. Sarah and Ben have been in love with each other forever, but they've both been quiet about it. All the tasks that are given to them are fun to read about. Even better is the way it shows Sarah how well she fits and works with Ben until she's reached the place he's been waiting all those wasted years. Very satisfying read.
I give this a 4.5, with a Clean rating.
Sassy Bride by Ciara Knight, USA Today Bestselling Author. A Cinderella meets Rich Charming tale set in small town, Georgia, full of sass and sacrifice. Can a girl form the wrong side of town win over the ugly in-laws, or will she lose her happily ever after forever?
*spoilers* I really wanted to like this one, but Sadie bugged me. Well, maybe it wasn't Sadie, but Ashton's mom? Not really sure. I grew up in the South and am glad to say I never knew any mom's as evil and devious as his mom. It just didn't feel real to me that you could get so close to your wedding date and not have worked out these family issues. In the end Ashton saved this story because he was a good guy who really loved Sadie and truly did choose her over his family.
I'd probably give this a 3.5, with a Clean rating.
It Could Happen to Us by Lucy McConnell, Contemporary Romance Author. An irresistible contemporary romance about a not-so-humble cop who splits his raffle ticket with an unlucky waitress and the actor who falls in love with her.
This one was cute. At first I was worried about the story following the movie "It Could Happen to You", but luckily it took a detour rather quickly. Instead of winning money, they win a lunch with some celebs--and the cop is a total jerk. Anyway, I also loved that this short story had some time passage involved. Even when we have that first love/attraction/connection thing going on, life is never a fairy tale. Allie and Mark had to wait for their happily ever after for real world reasons. I appreciated that.
I give this a 4, with a Clean rating.
Hit and Run Love by Jennifer Peel, Award Winning and Bestselling Author. What happens when a no-nonsense lawyer and her ex-boyfriend, a police officer, run into each other? Lots of sparks, literally and figuratively. Will this be another hit and run? Or, this time around, will Harrison be able to convince Kallie to give up her running shoes?
This was one of my three favorites from the boxed set. It was easy to connect with Kallie as she kept running away even while I kept thinking she was being stupid. Maybe she's my brand of stupid? Harrison kept chasing her, always wanting to break down that wall he could feel between them. This was one that had me cheering when Kallie finally figures things out.
I give this a 4-4.5, with a Clean rating.
The Sweet Tea and Kisses Boxed Set by the Sweet Six authors will have you falling in love with the South with every turn of the page.
I give the boxed set Sweet Tea and Kisses a 4-4.5 and Clean rating for easy readability with memorable characters.
1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure
Movie Ratings in relation to my review:
Clean--Hallmark movies, some kissing, no nudity, no sex on or off "screen"
PG--Some innuendo but nothing kids don't hear every day, sex is all closed door
PG-13--some language (swear words not related to sex), more talk about sex, heavy petting, removal of clothing on screen, but sex is closed door.
R--swearing (can be related to sex), feels like the whole story is about the sex and not the relationship or some other plot