Tag Team Review: Merry & Bright by Joanna Chambers

Three seasonal love stories from Joanna Chambers


Quin Flint is unimpressed when his gorgeous colleague, Rob Paget, asks for extra time off at Christmas. As far as Quin is concerned, Christmas is a giant waste of time. Quin’s on the fast track to partnership, and the season of goodwill is just getting in the way of his next big project. But when Quin’s boss, Marley, confiscates his phone and makes him take an unscheduled day off, Quin finds himself being forced to confront his regrets, past and present, and think about the sort of future he really wants…and who he wants it with.

Mr Perfect’s Christmas

Sam Warren’s new job hasn’t been going so well so the last thing he’s in the mood for is the obligatory office Christmas party, particularly since Nick Foster’s going to be there. Nick–the guy whose shoes Sam has been trying to fill–seems to take very opportunity to point out where Sam’s going wrong. But when Sam receives an unexpected Secret Santa gift at the party, he’s forced to question his assumptions about his rival. Could it be that he’s been misinterpreting Nick’s actions all along? And is it possible that his reluctant attraction to Nick is reciprocated?

Rest and Be Thankful

Things haven’t been going well for Cam McMorrow since he moved to Inverbechie. His business is failing, his cottage is falling apart and following his very public argument with cafĂ© owner Rob Armstrong, he’s become a social outcast. Cam needs to get away from his troubles and when his sister buys him a ticket to the biggest Hogmanay party in Glasgow, he can’t leave Inverbechie quick enough. But when events conspire to strand him in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm, not only is he liable to miss the party, he’ll also have to ask his nemesis, Rob, for help.

Lost in a Book - 4 Hearts

Having trouble getting into the holiday spirit? I think these shorties may turn that frown upside down and have you channeling your inner Will Ferrell.


Ok, maybe not that excited but possibly a little less Scrooge and a little more Grinch finding his heart. These three stories all have something in common; The MCs feeling like they’ve hit rock bottom while utterly alone. But are they really alone? What can they do to find their way out of Scroogeville? Those are questions the men in each story have to work through. It isn’t that they have a hatred for the holiday season, life has just beaten the shit out of them and each man has to figure out how long he’s going continue being kicked while down.

I was a fan of Quin. Not the asshole-ish vibe he constantly gave off but of the journey he made from beginning to end. He was the classic case of living to work and not working to live. Quin treated everyone around him like they were mere peasants and he was king. Luckily, Rob saw through his facade and was an excellent role-model on how to treat people. Rob had the unique ability to put Quin in his place while making him want to be a better person. This was a super sweet short that made me all warm and fuzzy once they got their HEA.

Mr. Perfect’s Christmas
Meh. This was shorter and the story wasn’t as enjoyable as the first in the anthology. Sam was Eeyore and it seemed that he always thought the worst of himself in all situations. He needed a little more reassurance and Nick was just the man to do that. I wish this was a tad longer for increased depth but it served its purpose for spreading Christmas cheer and the message of hope.

Rest and be Thankful
This was the longest in the anthology at about 50%. Cam. He broke my heart. Cam was trying to tread water in his shitty circumstances and was sinking fast. He was really relatable in that everything was going wrong all at once. House falling apart, not making enough money at work to fix everything, trouble in the community, completely alone, and not wanting to ask for help to save face. *sigh* His despair was a tangible thing and Rob was just the person to provide that “rest” for this weary man.

But, here's my pickle… This was the longer of the stories and I felt it provided the least amount of closure. Yes, the men have their HEA but we still don’t know if Cam fixed any of his other circumstances. Once he got the New Year's peen, it was game. over. There wasn’t an epilogue and I feel kinda gypped. *Bah humbug*

All in all these sweet stories are perfect for the holiday season with a little heat thrown in. They gave me warm and fuzzy feelings of hope, love, and the benefits of surrounding yourself with the ones in your life who matter most. Recommended.


Lorix - 4.5 hearts

I have read all of these stories before as they've appeared in various anthologies - it didn't lessen my enjoyment any though. 

Humbug - 4.5 hearts
A nod to the old Scrooge storyline, this sweet short helps Quin realise the importance of friends family and love, especially at Christmas. A short, sharp look at the person he was turning into, how he was seen by others made him start to re-think his values. The 'ghosts' of past present and future were his friends and colleagues; a glimpse into how life turned out for his boss plus a little guidance and love from Rob helps him see the way for an altogether happier Christmas-time.

Mr Perfect's Christmas - 4.5
Sam is trying to fit into Nick's shoes, and from where he's standing they're pretty big shoes to fill. Sometimes though, if you just look at things from a different angle they can be quite different. It's easy to pre-judge others, especially if your own confidence is a little on the down low! I really enjoyed this story of love being found where you last expect to find it.

Rest and Be Thankful - 4 hearts
Change is hard. Making new friends is hard. Risk is hard. And it's a whole lot harder if you refuse to ask for or accept help - which sums Sam up pretty much in a nutshell. There is such thing as being too independence, pride comes before a fall and all that... Of course when him and Rob got their heads out of their arses and started communicating (even if it was mother nature and a snowstorm that gave them the push) things turned out into the sweet seasonal love story I wanted. 

I have to say, I have read this story before and I'm sure it had a longer ending. I kept expecting his parents to help him out with the repairs to the cottage but... maybe I'm confusing stories!

1 comment:

  1. I do like Joanna Chambers stories so I bought this - niw just realised I have two of the stories already, and read them! Ah well, always up for rereading great Christmas stories!!!