Like a double scoop of vanilla ice cream, these two inspirational novellas by Snelling and Worth are fairly predictable, go down smooth, and are extra-sweet. Snelling's "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" revolves around two successful, self-employed workaholics in California who meet by accident when their beloved basset hounds rendezvous (think 101 Dalmatians). An unexpected development in Thane Davidson's life causes love interest Blythe Stensrude to face some hidden fears (which are never explained fully or credibly to the reader), and Thane must choose whether or not he will judge someone he loves. In "'Twas the Week Before Christmas," a handsome, slang-talking Cajun is tutored in manners by a pearl-bedecked debutante type, whose hair, skin and eyes are described in more ways than there are drinks at Starbucks. In both novellas, the romance never heats up beyond a steamy kiss or two, and there's plenty of God-talk to please Christian readers. It's absurd, however, to include discussion questions at the end ("Blythe and Thane love their bassets very much... how has your pet... influenced your life?"). This is not the stuff of deep introspection, nor should it be. But as a curl-up-by-the-fireplace-and-escape-from-the-hustle-and-bustle read for the Christmas holidays, these agreeable novels meet expectations.
The first story, the longer of the two was only mildly good, I would give it maybe 2 1/2 stars, but it was a quick easy somewhat enjoyable read. The 2nd story however was fantastic and made the whole thing worth it. I would give the 2nd story 4 1/2 stars...maybe 5!