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Dating Mr. December
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
As Dating Mr. December opens, Emma Tremayne is trying to convince the local mountain rescue team that a "nudie" calendar - featuring the team members - would be just the fund raiser they need to earn enough money for much-needed renovations to their rescue station. She's got just about everyone convinced, except Will Tennant, one of the senior members of the team. He thinks it will turn their team into a laughingstock. After everyone else on the team votes to do the calendar, Will reluctantly agrees to participate.

Emma decides she's not going to let Will get to her, even though he's tall, sexy, and wrong about the calendar. She needs the calendar to succeed, to prove that she's as good at PR as she says she is. She's still stinging from the betrayal of discovering her boyfriend and boss had been seeing each other behind her back, and when she was fired, she fled to Bannerdale to get away from London and start over.

Will doesn't want to like the new PR agent, but she's sexy and fearless and he might be falling for her. He's got a few issues of his own, like never falling in love after his fiancee broke his heart two years ago.

Dating Mr. December is a cute, romantic story set in the small, mountainous town of Bannerdale, England. Emma was a bit of a fish-out-of-water, which was endearing. Her character was sweet I felt so sorry for her broken heart, however - I wanted to smack her for being such an idiot with Will. In that same vein, Will was sweet and sexy, but I wanted to shake him and tell him he was being an idiot with Emma. These two were so hot and cold I couldn't keep up with who was mad at who. The way they'd crash together and then jump away was a bit frustrating to this reader; I felt like there was no basis for the relationship to move forward.

Those frustrations aside, I liked the story - it reminded me of the movie Calendar Girls. Dating Mr. December is an entertaining contemporary romance that had me wishing I could visit the town and meet the characters. I also enjoyed Ms. Ashley's descriptions of the mountains and lakes - it sounds like a beautiful place. The epilogue was a satisfying conclusion to Emma and Will's story. I'm interested in the Lifetime movie (although they changed the setting to Montana) and will be looking that up in the future.

On a totally random side note, I liked the size of this book - it's not trade paperback or mass market size, but rather a combination of the two.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 15, 2010
Author Phillipa Ashley studied English and Literature at Oxford University before working as a journalist and freelance writer. She didn't start writing fiction until 2005 when she joined an internet creative writing site. Other titles include: It Should Have Been Me, Just Say Yes, and Wish You Were Here. She resides in Staffordshire Village in England with her husband and daughter.

Emma Tremayne wasn't expecting a move from London to the Lake District, but she had no choice. After a disastrous event makes her lose her boyfriend and her high-profile PR job in the course of a day, she takes a job far from the city she knows and loves with a small town tourist board. Finally she feels as if she's regaining her esteem and confidence after settling in-- that is until she's asked to be responsible for a fundraising effort for the Mountain Rescue Team. An effort that involves a calendar for twelve naked men! As if the task wasn't challenging enough, sexy and rich rescuer, Will Tennant, is opposed to the idea. He thinks it'll make them a laughing stock. But as all things in life, Will is more than he appears. Much, much more. Can these two set aside their differences long enough to not kill each other... or fall in love?

This book was originally published under the title "Decent Exposure" in 2006 in the UK, by Little Black Dress Publishing. This has also been adapted into a Lifetime channel television movie in 2009 called "12 Men of Christmas," starring Kristin Chenoweth, Josh Hopkins, and Anna Chlumsky. Unknowingly, I had seen the TV movie last Christmas season before agreeing to review the book this year. The movie was set in the States and varied pretty drastically from the book, though followed a similar storyline. Though the movie was a cute fluff holiday piece, I enjoyed the book much more. Readers can enjoy the movie before the book, or vice versa, as neither should disrupt the other.

Even more than the witty romance, it's the secondary characters in the small town of Bannerdale that makes this book pop. A group of ordinary people that will capture your heart. With dry humor and candid dialog, I was laughing aloud several times. The book also had it's share of "Aww" moments. Whether you're in the mood for a little Christmas spirit, a funny story, or a heartfelt romance, this is the perfect book to cuddle up with. Highly recommended.

Kelly Moran
Author and Reviewer
Bookpleasures
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Emma Tremayne's life in London seems just about perfect until she finds out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with (of all people!) her boss. Brokenhearted and with both her personal and professional lives in a shambles, she relocates to a small town in the Lake District. Her job for the local tourist board is a far cry from her glamorous PR job in London, but Emma is determined to make a go of it. When the region's mountain rescue team is searching for some much needed funding, Emma comes up with the idea to shoot a calendar featuring the team members posing in the buff. She meets some serious opposition when the ruggedly good-looking Will Tennent balks at her idea. Emma sets out to convince Will to bare-it-all for a good cause, and in the process finds herself falling for Mr. December.

I'm kind of neutral about this one. I really like the "starting over in a small town" theme, and this does deliver on that score, with the author making good use of the setting and secondary characters. The story started out strong and I found myself rooting for Emma as she struggles to get her life back on track. But then...well, frankly I just got a bit bored. The whole plot hinges on that well-worn romance novel staple - The Big Misunderstanding. Emma learns through the local gossip mill that Will left his fiancé at the alter and is something of a womanizer. She then spends about 75% of the story in self-inflicted misery going around in circles because (of course!) the rumors must be true and Will is bound to break her heart. I found this so frustrating! Why not simply ask Will why he broke off his engagement - why torture yourself assuming the worst? Why is that you can practically re-enact the Kama Sutra with someone, but you can't ask a straightforward question? Too embarrassing? I didn't buy it.

So for me this one didn't quite work, but it was cute enough and overall I did like the author's writing style. Probably worth a shot if you don't over-analyze the plot.

Occasional strong language and mild/moderate sexual content.

BTW: Despite the Christmas-y sounding title and cover art, this story has nothing to do with the holidays. It was however used as the basis for a made for TV holiday movie, 12 Men of Christmas
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
I watched the movie that was based on this book for the first time just earlier in the year that I read this. While I did not care for Kristin Chenoweth as the main character at all, I thought that it was a cute and amusing enough time waster. Thus, when Amazon's Kindle Store offered the book up for free, I decided to download and read it.

The main character of this book is city girl Emma, a PR consultant who has been sent to no man's land to work. She comes up with the idea of a nude calendar spread to promote a local rescue team. Her idea is met with opposition from rescue team member Will, with whom sparks eventually fly.

I wanted a fluff read, and this is surely that. The book is highly predictable, the characters could be annoying and simple minded at times, and there are a lot of pages of, well, nothing happening. It is actually pretty slow in a lot of areas. However, when things do happen, they tend to be rather amusing. While based during winter, near Christmas, and with snow, none of that seemed to be a big part of the story. I would not really call this a cozy Christmas read.

This is British fiction, and I did not know that going into the book. I am almost positive that the movie must have been changed and based in the US. The language differences and lingo could make you scratch your head just a little bit in a few places; nevertheless, the story is universally relatable, albeit thinly plotted. I would not let the language differences stop me from reading it if I was really interested.

Still, I recommend watching the movie over the book if you did not get the book for free. If you can bear Chenoweth, that is. It would probably save you a few hours, and you would not miss much. 2.5

Note: This review was originally posted on Goodreads.com
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Although titled Dating Mr. December, this romantic story isn't really set in December or centered on Christmas at all. In fact, as I was reading it, I hoped that readers wouldn't get caught up in the title and put off reading it until the holidays! This is definitely a tense, sexy read.

The initial lead in to Emma and Will (hunky Mr. December) meeting one another and becoming attracted was pretty short. Those kinds of "I like you baby" leads sometimes have me rolling my eyes a bit, since I'm ever the pessimist about those kinds of love interests. I'll be honest, I felt that way in this story as well, but thankfully the author created a palpable tension between these two characters that kept me flipping pages. In pretty short order, they were snubbing one another and hiding past hurts and pain. Will was said to be a real prig who had abandoned a fiance on their wedding day, while Emma had just found that her boyfriend was having an affair with her boss, causing her to move to Will's town and away from London. Obviously, there was more to the story, which we as readers want to see them resolve.

In the end, this romance was pretty good. I liked the tension and misunderstandings between the two characters, so it wasn't all about the "come hither" of a classic romance. Although it looks and sounds like a playful, fun read, it was much more serious and tense than it lets on. Really, this is a romance you could read any time, even though the set up and cover scream Christmas. Also, if you enjoy the added tension that inevitably pushes two people together (which I do), then this is a perfect romantic read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2012
If you are looking for a cute, easy read this is it. This book took me awhile to get into, but about halfway through the book, starts to move pretty fast. I got this as a free download so I got my money's worth. It is definitely a cheesy romance, but has its good parts. The action between the heroine and her love interest does not happen until about three quarters of the way through and it resolves quickly. I probably would not have paid for this book, but as a free download, I give it 3 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2012
Not Christmassy at all.
I was expecting fun and mistletoe but at no point was Christmas even mentioned. I assumed - wrongly - that if the cover had a Santa hat on it that Santa would be mentioned.
It was a fun book though the used English slang from the first English speaking country was quite confusing to me for some reason. I was concerned that it would be a bit steamy for my tastes but overall it was very light and not at all vulgar.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
Sorry, but I didn't think this book was anywhere near the quality of a Sophie Kinsella or Jill Mansell. Dropped right in the middle of the plot, I felt like I had missed the first 20 or 30 pages. Where was the back story? The plot was thin in the extreme but if you like lots of descriptions of musculature and the heroine's outfits, you might like it. I'll stick to Katie Fforde and Lucy Dillon, among many others, who can deliver fully developed characters as well as interesting story lines!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley is the kind of book that you go to when you need a light and fluffy read laced with a flirty romance and a good dose of hanky panky! Every once in a while I need to sit down and lose myself in some good chick-lit and Dating Mr. December filled that need perfectly.

Emma has been kicked and tossed around a lot lately. She lost her boyfriend to her boss and consequently lost her job. So, what does she do? She leaves London and heads for the boonies of Cumbria to work instead and just get away from it all. What's she going to be doing? Well the first order of business is getting a bunch of down home kind of guys to agree to do a calendar --- with not a whole lot of covering up going on if you catch my drift --- to raise money for a new base camp that they desperately need. The men seem responsive to the idea --- all but Will --- the most ruggedly handsome man she's seen in a while.

Will is very opposed to the calendar but agrees since he's all for supporting the team not to mention that Emma seems to set his heart to pounding. It seems though that he and Emma keep butting heads at every turn and managing to spur each other on without even trying hard. Not to mention that they both seem to be making eyes at each other without either of them knowing it. Now the thing is that Emma has been hurt enough. She's certainly not going near another man for a while and certainly not one that seems to have the reputation of a love em', leave em' kind of guy. Then there's Will who has this hard exterior but maybe is a lot softer than most think - is he hiding a few deep hurts himself that make him leery of falling for anyone?

Try as you might in a small town it's hard not to get thrown together and to top it off Emma and Will do seem to have some serious sparks flying between them. Emma doesn't want a broken heart again though but Will keeps doing things that make her think that maybe there is a chance for them. Will she open up and give the relationship a chance? Is there even a relationship to worry about? Then there's Will - is he willing to give up his wild ways for Emma? Or does he want his space and freedom, thereby breaking Emma's heart again?

Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley is great for those who love chick-lit or romance. I enjoyed it although did find it a bit slow in some parts. However the author's witty dialogue had me laughing more than once and the storyline did keep me interested to the point where I needed to know what was going to happen. It's a good read for this time of year when people are busy and just want something cute and light that they can lose themselves in for a little while. Keep in mind though that this book has nothing to do with Christmas even though you might think so from the cover.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2013
After being fired from her previous job in a dramatic fashion, Emma is forced to take a job in small town Lake District where she takes on the fundraising effort of the mountain rescuers. When she comes up with the cute (and sexy) fundraiser of creating a calendar, she finds herself butting heads with Will who isn't thrilled about the idea of posing naked for a calendar. But Emma refuses to give up her idea. Of course sparks fly and both try to fight the sizzle but some things are meant to be...until Emma gets a better offer.

Since I love all things Christmas, I had to read Dating Mr. December. As I started to read, I instantly recognized it from a Hallmark movie that I watched this season and I couldn't help but compare the two. I really didn't think I would enjoy the movie but there was no other Christmas movie on at the time so I gave it a try and really enjoyed it. So at first I wasn't too happy with the book because it didn't seem like it was giving enough details. All the big drama had already happened and the reader only gets to hear the story told rather than experience it. But I soon realized that the book version spends more time on the romance aspect and it was done well. We didn't have a dramatic moment where the characters suddenly realized that there was a spark. Instead we have a slow steady build up. While the ending is fairly predictable, getting there was quite enjoyable. The romance was cute and the humor was pretty good. It isn't quirky funny like chick-lit but more witty funny. It was definitely an enjoyable afternoon spent.

You might still be able to catch the movie on the Hallmark channel. Did anybody catch this movie besides me?
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