Retro Review: The Gift of a Birthday by Amy Lane

Blurb

The short is from The Granby Knitting series, and it features Jeremy.
 
It’s Aiden’s birthday– but he’s the one who got Jeremy a very special gift. 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review:

This is a little ficlet from the Granby Knitting series (here is the original series https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16036359-how-to-raise-an-honest-rabbit?from_search=true ) that I found here: https://amberkell.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/welcome-birthday-guest-amy-lane-2/

I can’t believe I hadn’t read this until now!

I love this series so much and especially Jeremy and Aidan – Craw, Ben, Stanley, Johnny are all wonderful, but Jeremy holds a special place in my heart.

This little – flip – that Aidan manages to achieve is just so …. Perfect. Amy found the exact right “gift” to really emphasize how un-important age is to these guys (and in general).

It’s really sweet and if you’re a fan of the series you gotta read this!

5 of 5 stars

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Recent Release: Mason and the Dog Wrangler by CL Etta

Publisher Pride Publishing
https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/mason-and-the-dog-wrangle

Blurb
Sorrow’s grip is relentless until a rambunctious ball of fur and a handsome dog wrangler break its hold.

Four years after his partner died, leaving him to raise their daughter alone, Mason Ford still grieves his loss. Resigned to devoting his life to their little Nik, Mason goes through his days exhausted by the nightmares that keep him from sleeping. When he and Nik meet Jeremy Coulter, dog wrangler extraordinaire, their cozy world is upended. Mason’s attraction to the exuberant man with the teasing smile is unfamiliar and frightening, while Nik’s easy camaraderie with Jeremy is instantaneous.

When Jeremy saves Nik’s life, Mason wonders if he has fallen for the much younger man or are his feelings nothing more than obligation? Is it possible that love at first sight is real

Review
I’m not really sure how I feel about this story. It all seemed so convenient. There is only 39 pages for the author to convey the depth of Mason’s grief and how meeting Jeremy impacts on his and his daughter’s life. It’s been four years since his partner’s death but it reads as though Mason has depression rather than grief. Jeremy is quite a character. He seems to be able to relate well with children and animals, especially dogs. He is immediately attracted to Mason and pursues him. Everything from this point moves at quite a pace and I think the story would have benefited from being a little longer. I’m not convinced by how quick the relationship between them develops and changes. Nice short story though.

3 of stars out of 5


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Valentine Review: Together Tied (Marshals #3.5) by Mary Calmes

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38560762-together-tied?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, you’re all invited to spend some time with my marshals. I put a short novella on Instafreebie of Miro and Ian having dinner with their boss Sam Kage and his husband, Jory Harcourt. What could possibly go wrong?

I hope you all enjoy it and I hope you all have a wonderful, shmoopy, candy and flower filled day.

 

 

 

Review

This is a super fun, super sweet, GIANT TEASER of a story that makes you CRAVE the next installment of the Marshalls series.

We get to see some really familiar faces and our guy Miro sees Sam in a new light.  If you’re not following All the stories – The Marshalls – Acrobat – A matter of time – this won’t make sense as a lot of people show up in this short story.

You MUST read this before book 4 so… 

I wish this had been a little bit more about Ian and Miro being in love and less about moving the plot forward for book 4 but it was still adorable and free on InstaFreebie!

3.75 of 5 stars

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Holidays: Eugene and the Box of Nails (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Jaime Samms

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb
Every time it seems like things are looking up for Eugene Kraft, disaster hits. Bankruptcy, a bigoted sibling, and a back-breaking accident have all left him with little money and less faith in the universe. His last-ditch effort at peace is the small lakeside property where he is building a tiny house from recycled materials. If he can get it livable before the cold sets in, maybe he’ll be okay. Hopefully Cullen, the foreman on the construction site next door, won’t notice Eugene pilfering discarded materials from his dumpster. When Cullen stops by to talk to Eugene, he’s sure the gig is up—but all Cullen wants is a date. Can two things go right in Eugene’s life? At first it seems possible. Projects on Eugene’s house are getting completed by what he dubs “construction elves” while he’s off site. But like Eugene predicted, his good fortune can’t last, and soon he has a tough choice to make: give up his home… or the man of his dreams.

Review

I think we have all been at a time in our lives where we want to accomplish something all by ourselves, with no help from anyone else.
Eugene has let himself depend on others only to have that support suddenly yanked out from under him. Now all he wants to do is build himself a house, by himself, as inexpensively as possible. Of course the good looking foreman from the build site next door is a nice distraction.

Things start appearing on Eugene’s building site, and then things are getting done while he is gone. It’s not like Eugene isn’t grateful, it’s just he wants to do it by himself. Cullen couldn’t have done it because he was with Eugene when it happens.

Eugene and Cullen start off slow and easy, and then hit a brick wall. See what happens when a stubborn man finally lets people help him.

4 of 5 stars

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Holidays: New Game, Start (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by CS Poe

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb
Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.
He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

Review
I just loved Edgar and Walter. Edgar is so insecure about himself that he can’t believe someone famous and wonderful like Walter would even know he existed. Sometimes you’ve just get to take a chance and go for what you want. And that’s what Edgar did and it won him the man of his dreams. They seem so suited to each other. Both of them paying attention to how the other one liked to be wooed. Part of me wants to know more and part of me is content with this little snapshot into their budding relationship. Lovely feel good story that fits any time of year not just Christmas.

4 of stars out of 5

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Holidays: Ghostwriter of Christmas Past (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by T.A. Moore

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb
Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.
Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.
It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.

Review
When I finished reading this story my immediate thought was that this could make a good novel. Don’t get me wrong it is a solid short story with just enough background to keep me happy but it could easily be a lot more. I’m not certain if I felt any sympathy or empathy for Jason. I certainly did for his Niece Mallory. It’s very clear Jason is out of his depth caring for Mallory when both of them are still grieving. And that might be why he decided to take her back to where he and her dad grew up. I liked Tommy, he’s the strong dependable one, just what Jason and Mallory need to give them some stability. The only thing is that we as the reader get an idea of why Jason had to leave home at eighteen but I don’t think he ever really explained it to Tommy. I loved the ending, gave me a contented sigh. This is a good short story full of homecoming forgiveness and new starts. Personally I would like more.

4 of stars out of 5

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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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Holidays: A Timely Gift (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Kris T. Bethke

Dreamspinner Press

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

Blurb
Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….
On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.
Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it.

Review
This is a lovely story. Fate (or Grandpa’s magic) has given Rory and Deacon a second chance at love. I loved how Rory wants to think the pocket watch is influencing each moment but dismisses it only to finally accept a little solstice magic has helped things along. I love the Christmas films and stories where there is a little touch of magic. Makes you believe anything is possible. Rory and Deacon make a lovely couple and deserve their happy ending.

4 of stars out of 5

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Holidays: The Storm’s Gift (2017 Advent Calendar – Stocking Stuffers) by A.D. Ellis

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

Snowed in together in their college dorm, two men share a quick connection that creates enough heat to spar with the blizzard outside.

Rory Blackwell plans to rejuvenate his mind and repair his battered heart after his world is shaken by an unexpected breakup. James Austin’s freshman-year plans of improving his social life crashed and burned, leaving him feeling as alone and outcast as he did back home.

One man is hurting while the other is eager to provide comfort. One is a virgin, the other experienced with other men. Both are looking forward to Winter Break, but can they take full advantage of their situation—or will the passion ignited between them fizzle out with the storm?

Review

Fate or destiny? Stuck in the dorm during Christmas break because of a massive ice and snow storm, James the typical novice freshman and Rory the confident senior discover each other. AD Ellis has laid out a story that is both possible and rings true with the given circumstances. She shows how a freshman worries about fitting in, missing family and not just suddenly becoming a different person once he arrives at college. Rory is a senior, an RA, and newly single, who is more observant than James expected.

Watch as they get together and have hot steamy sexy times

4.5 of 5 stars

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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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