Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas class difference College/University Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Families/Weddings Friends to lovers Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Holiday Romance Humor lawyer m/m Mild level angst Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Standalone Unrequited Love

Holidays: The Last Gift (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Chrissy Munder

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

College student Nick Reed works late shift at a convenience store and dreams of graduation, a job he can be proud of, and finding the man of his dreams.

But the man of his dreams is about to find him.

A change in his lab hours forces Nick to swap shifts with a coworker. But no one prepared Nick for Mr. 5:25—Aaron Hampton—a beefy blond who’s Nick’s perfect guy, but professionally and socially out of Nick’s reach. Soon Aaron becomes the highlight of Nick’s workday, and when the overly focused lawyer needs Nick’s help with holiday gifts, Nick is eager to spend time with Aaron.

They become friends, share book recommendations, and are surprised to find themselves at the same charity run. But is that all? When Aaron learns Nick is heading back to his old shift, will he find the courage to ask for one last, very special gift?

 

Review

This is hard for me to evaluate. On one hand, I loved the internal monologue and found Nick to be a really fun character. On the other hand, I wasn’t really sure why the story ended like it did as I felt our MCs didn’t get a lot of quality time together to really establish anything.

 

If you accept this as an HFN and maybe just the start of a relationship and a partially completed story – it’s a good start. However, it didn’t have that solid feel of completion to me.

 

3 of 5 stars

 

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3.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Christmas Contemporary Dee Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Holiday Romance Little to no angst m/m Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Standalone

Roger by SJD Peterson

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/roger-by-sjd-peterson-9167-b

Blurb: Texas native Colt Burrow isn’t happy about his third cold, lonely Christmas in frozen Michigan. But when fate sends him a gift in the form of an abandoned puppy, he can’t keep his heart from melting. With the puppy’s companionship, he doesn’t feel so isolated anymore, and the holidays don’t seem as bleak. He even finds enough Christmas spirit to take Roger tree shopping. But just when Colt’s starting to hope Roger’s owner doesn’t show up… he does, and Colt doesn’t want to say goodbye.

Will Roger end up being Colt’s Christmas heartbreak… or his Christmas miracle?

 

Review: Short, sweet story about a guy who finds a dog and ends up finding love as well. Colt finds Roger, a stray pup in his backyard. He takes Roger in, gets attached only for Killian (his owner) to turn up to claim him. The 2 men hit it off and the rest is romantic history. Cute holiday story.

3.75 stars out of 5

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Categories
6 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas Cinderella/Cinderfella class difference Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Gay Gay Geek/nerd/techie/gamer Heat Index Holiday Humor m/m Mary D Mild level angst Opposites attract Part of a Series Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words) Standalone Virgin

Holidays: All Creatures Great and Small (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Kasper Quill

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Growing up an orphan meant Charlie never celebrated Christmas. He’s committed to making sure his newly adopted cat, Max, doesn’t miss out like he did. Unfortunately, he discovers that giving Max the perfect Christmas might be easier said than done—and not without risk.
Charlie’s landlord, successful and wealthy real estate developer Aemon Scotfield, is charmed by the gorgeous redhead and his shameless alley cat. He finds himself compelled to help orchestrate a memorable celebration for Max—and Charlie—despite the mishaps that seem to just keep coming. As difficult as it will be to pull off the perfect holiday, the real challenge might be walking away when it’s over.

Review
I absolutely loved this story. I was laughing one minute and had tears in my eyes next. Wonderful humour. I loved Charlie. Determined to get himself out of a rut he decided to give his cat Max the kind of Christmas he never had as a child. The way Charlie and Aemon kept meeting was wonderful. Aemon has a sort of loving exasperation towards Charlie and his antics. I can totally see the kind of chaos that could happen in their home. Not the usual Christmas story but that makes it so much more special. This is definitely one I will read again at any time of year. I’ve never read anything by Kasper Quill before but I will certainly look out for more by her.

6 of stars out of 5

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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Established Couple Fade to black/No Steam Families/Weddings Gay Heat Index Holiday Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level angst Monthly Theme Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Single Parent Standalone

Holidays: Christmas Grace (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by C.L. Miles

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

Christmas has been a lonely time of year for Aaron since losing his family fifteen years ago. But now he’s seeing Craig, and though Aaron is sure they belong together, both have been hurt in the past, so they’re taking things slowly. So far, Craig has been supportive of Aaron’s struggles with anxiety—struggles that cost Aaron relationships in the past.

On Christmas Eve, Aaron is closing his bookshop when Craig surprises him with a specially planned evening. Will this be the night they take that final step and deepen their physical relationship? Aaron hopes so, but things aren’t that simple. Craig has been keeping a secret…. Can Aaron take his place as part of a family again and accept the love he’s missed for so long—or will he find that some deceptions are too big to be forgiven, even with the help of some Christmas grace?

Review

This was a bit melodramatic and angsty. While I appreciated that we are jumping into the story at the climax of their romance, I missed the part where the spark gets lit. That’s my favorite part of a romance – maybe even more than the HEA.

I didn’t care for Aaron and Craig seemed to make a big deal of something that shouldn’t have been.

Not my favorite.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Bullying Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Families/Weddings Friends to lovers Gay Gay Geek/nerd/techie/gamer Heat Index Holiday Holiday Romance Humor Little to no angst m/m Monthly Theme Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series second chance at love Standalone The one that got away Unrequited Love

Holidays: The Probability of Mistletoe (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by E.J. Russell

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

When software engineer Keith Trainor decides to start his own company, he knows exactly who he wants as his partner: Parker Mulvaney, his best friend from high school. But in the ten years since graduation, their contact has dwindled to nothing, and it’s all Keith’s fault. If he hadn’t tried to kiss Parker under the mistletoe at the winter formal their senior year, Parker wouldn’t have bolted. At their ten-year reunion, Keith intends to do everything in his geeky power to make amends.

Parker should have known that scheduling the reunion the day before Christmas Eve was a recipe for a headache of monster proportions. But when Keith sends a text that he’ll be attending, the evening doesn’t look so bleak. Can an unnecessary makeover, a nostalgic breakfast, an abortive shopping trip, and a whole lot of mistletoe culminate in a long-overdue first kiss?

Review

I didn’t want this to end! It was sooooo cute and sweet and funny and charming and…

It has an adorable geek, a sweet extrovert, a family of nuts and tons of mistletoe!

This was a very slow burn, no heat holiday story with lots of heart. These two boys were just meant to be and Parker’s grand gesture was treated really well (though I kinda wanted him to explain it more to Keith and have Keith appreciate it more…)

I wish we could have seen these guys at least through their “first time together”, but… it was still wonderful!

Highly Recommended and among my favorites of the bunch!

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Bullying Chef Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Friends to lovers Gay Gay Geek/nerd/techie/gamer Heat Index Holiday Hurt/comfort m/m Mild level angst Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Older MCs Part of a Series Rent Boy Stalker/Abusive Ex Standalone

Short Order (Foothills Pride #8) by Pat Henshaw

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/short-order-by-pat-henshaw-9143-b

Blurb

When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.

While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.

As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.

Review
This fell totally flat for me. I just didn’t feel the connection between John and Fen. Though I know some of that is John’s stoicism, the lack of sex and the off hand way their connection was worked into the mystery just made it seem like the romance was more afterthought than anything else.

I appreciated the quirkiness of the characters and the personal growth of all 3 men but I didn’t think this warmed my heart in a romantic sense.

The writing was fine so I’m giving this 2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars.

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4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Bullying Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Established Couple Established Couple/Sequel Fade to black/No Steam Finding Family Gay Heat Index Holiday Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series

Thirty One Days and Legos by SA Stovall

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/thirty-one-days-and-legos-by-sa-stovall-9138-b

Blurb

A Ranger Station Haven Christmas Novella
Park rangers Carter and Owen Williams have decided to expand their family and adopt two brothers—boys they rescued a year before when they tried to escape the foster system and flee to Canada. After completing their parenting classes, Carter, a reserved man who enjoys the simple life, swears he’ll be the best father possible. His patience is tested, however, when one brother adopts a cat out of the snowy Voyageurs National Park and the other brother refuses to talk about what’s bothering him.
Owen wants to make sure their first Christmas together is a special one, and he decides all of December should be a celebration. He has an activity planned for each of the thirty-one days, but none of them seem to go off without a hitch. The cat has fleas, the boys need to attend a court hearing, and Carter is more than a little overwhelmed.
But Carter is 100 percent determined to make his new family work. He just has no idea how….

Review

The author tells us that reading the first book in this series is not necessary, but I think it might be.  (Book one was from last year’s advent  :  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33001905-ranger-station-haven?from_search=true)

On the one hand, I totally understood where these guys were coming from as the author did a great job of giving enough background information without retelling their “falling in love” story, but… I had such a hard time understanding what Owen sees in Carter. He was soooo grumpy and while it’s sort of explained I still didn’t feel like I connected with him – as far as his romance with Owen.

I loved the children part. Ugh! Totally crying! It was so sweet! Carter’s relationship with Luke and Legos is adorable and for that alone this was worth reading.

Overall I think you should read book 1 then read this because it was really sweet and if I’d liked Carter more I think I’d have liked this story more.

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas class difference Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Families/Weddings Finding Family Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Holiday Romance Hurt/comfort Insta Love m/m Mid level angst Monthly Theme Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Opposites attract Part of a Series second chance at love Standalone

Holidays: An Open Window (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Rick R. Reed

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

Two men. One Christmas Eve that changes the courses of both their lives.

Henry’s homeless and only wants a warm place to sleep on the coldest night of the year. A forgotten open window in a darkened house entices Henry inside with the promise of warmth and comfort. He knows it’s wrong, but he promises himself he’ll be out before the owner wakes on Christmas morning. Except he oversleeps and the homeowner, Jim, discovers a bearded stranger sawing logs under his dining room table. When the shock and the drama that ensues dies down, Henry and Jim discover that they might have found, quite unexpectedly, the Christmas miracle they’d both been longing for—love and home.

 

Review

 

This was just a bit too maudlin for me with not enough of the happy to quite balance it out. While I really applauded the approach to looking at life through different lenses and the unique way the story was laid out, I kind of wanted to see more of the middle part that got glossed over.

 

It was sweet, short and sentimental.

 

3.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3 stars Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Families/Weddings Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Holiday m/m Mid level angst Monthly Theme Morgan Older MCs Part of a Series second chance at love Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words) Standalone Unrequited Love

Holidays: The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Chris Scully

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

In the sunny playground of Palm Springs, growing up was something confirmed bachelor and bad-boy chef Joel avoided at all costs—until a close friend’s death made him reevaluate his priorities. Ever since, he’s been dedicated to helping his widowed friend Perry get back on his feet by teaching him to cook and providing a shoulder to cry on. But when Perry announces that he’s ready to start dating again and then begins receiving gifts from an anonymous secret Santa, Joel is forced to confront the feelings he’s suppressed for so long.

As Joel struggles with jealousy and guilt amid the holiday season, he must decide if he’s ready to grow up and reach for what he’s always wanted but never thought he could have.

Review

Though this is already a short story, I think it’d have been better even shorter. There just wasn’t enough story to support all the words. I got really tired of Joel’s hemming and hawing and besides their time spent together before Dale’s death, I wasn’t sure what Perry saw in Joel.

I loved the secondary characters and thought the overall premise was interesting, but it dragged on too much for me.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Book class difference Established Couple Established Couple/Sequel Fade to black/No Steam Fantasy Gay Gay Homophobia m/m Magic Mild level angst Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Race/Species Difference

Audiobook: Equipoise By: Kim Fielding Narrated by: Joel Leslie

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Equipoise-Audiobook/B075Z5F1NX/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1510520444&sr=1-1

Blurb

Ennek Trilogy, Book 3
Ennek, the son of the Chief, and Miner, a former slave, have escaped the totalitarian city-state of Praesidium and remain fugitives. Having defeated two mighty wizards, they begin to realize complete freedom can be as dangerous as absolute power. Now Ennek and Miner must face battles, corruption, and further journeys through lands both new and familiar.
As they grow more secure in their relationship, they learn the greatest challenges sometimes come from very close to the heart and everything of value has a price. With the help of a few allies, they seek equipoise – a balance for themselves and for their world.

Review

First, let me say that the Ennek Trilogy exemplifies the magnitude of Kim Fielding’s immense world-building abilities as well as her gift with writing. She’s created compelling characters in a complex world and given them arduous and evocative hurdles to overcome. I really enjoyed books one and two and this is a lovely third installment that wraps up their journey beautifully.

I love that Miner and Ennek’s relationship is solid and in fact strengthens throughout this book. I love all the magic and usage of powers that we get as well. There were times when things did drag out a bit and there might have been some repetitive moments here and there, but all in all the story moved along at a lovely pace and came to nice ending for our MCs.

Joel Leslie, as he did in book 2, did a fantastic job with giving all these wide and varied characters in the story and I think he brings her world to life in a way that helps to support any of the lagging areas in the story with his own dramatic influence. I think listening to this is the absolute best way to enjoy this series and my only sadness is that he didn’t narrate book one as well.

Highly recommended!

3.5 of 5 stars for the story

5 of 5 stars for the audio

overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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