Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Beth Jumper Book Boss/employee Christmas class difference Contemporary Families/Weddings Friends to lovers Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Holiday Romance m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Standalone

Holidays: All I Want by Stella Starling

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33127540-all-i-want?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Shy retail clerk Elliott Gaffney’s Christmas wish isn’t something Santa can grant him, but that doesn’t stop it from being his favorite time of year. Especially since he gets to work at Chicago’s prestigious Ashby’s department store in “the North Pole,” doing his part to make the magic of Christmas come alive for others.

All Bennett “Ash” Ashby wants for Christmas is to forget about it. Unfortunately, his father is forcing him to pay penance for the media frenzy caused by his latest public sex scandal. The Ashby heir, working as a lowly department store Santa? Only the fact that no one will know it’s really him can save Ash the embarrassment of being stuck in a fat suit instead of partying with his friends.

But when Elliott catches Ash’s eye, Christmas starts to look a whole lot brighter. And even though Elliott would never have the guts to say yes if he knew who Ash really was, falling for “Ben,” the new Santa, is another story all together…

Review

When you keep Christmas in your heart your dreams really can com true. Elliott has always kept the joy and spirit of Christmas in his heart and it shows in everything he does.

You have the disreputable, moneyed bachelor who’s name is always in the headlines. His father decides that he needs to be punished for his latest indiscretion. Playing Santa is the last thing Ash wants to do, but working with Elliott slowly shows him the true meaning of Christmas. And although this is a romance it’s also a sweet message on keeping the spirit of Christmas.

Elliott has always loved the Christmas holidays at the department store he works at. It started when he was a child and his mother would bring him in to see Santa. As an adult he now works at the store and tries to see the the children that need it the most keep their belief.

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Beth Jumper Book Christmas College/University Contemporary Dreamspinner Families/Weddings Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Holiday Romance m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Monthly Theme Part of a Series Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words) Standalone

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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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Anthology artists Book Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Established Couple/Sequel Families/Weddings Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Holiday Little to no angst long distance love m/m Mary D Mild/low level heat Military Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Standalone Teacher

Holidays: The Puzzle Box (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by C.C. Bridges

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb
Elementary school art teacher Cole Peters is expecting a lonely Christmas this year while his longtime boyfriend, James Carducci, is on deployment with the Army. However, a box from James contains puzzles that lead Cole on a scavenger hunt through the greatest moments of their relationship. Together with his best friend Liz, Cole works his way through each clue.

The final puzzle could lead Cole to a gift beyond his wildest expectations.

 

Review
This is such a lovely concept for a short story. A series of puzzles that stir memories of moments spent together. Especially since Cole and James can’t be together at Christmas. There is one line in the story that sums it up perfectly for me “I feel like I’m on a tour of the greatest hits of Cole and James’s relationship.”
I finished reading with a contented sigh. Perfect feel good Christmas story. Excellently written giving me the feeling that I had been following their developing relationship for a lot more than just thirty pages. I absolutely recommend this one.

5 of stars out of 5

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Categories
3.5 stars Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology artists Book Christmas Contemporary Dee Dreamspinner Families/Weddings Gay Gay Geek/nerd/techie/gamer Heat Index Holiday Holiday Romance Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Standalone

Holidays: Pining for Perfect (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Ki Brightly

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

Stokely leads a solitary life, trying to do all the right things. He has a solid, respectable job, a properly decorated, respectable apartment, and goes to work every single day, no matter what. But it’s Christmas, and he hates Christmas, especially since his one guilty pleasure, listening to Asher Banks on the radio, is ruined with upbeat, holiday garbage.

Asher is the polar opposite—he loves Christmas to a fault and schedules himself into the ground with fundraisers to help the local community. When Asher and Stokely meet during one of the holiday spectacles Asher has thrown together, sparks fly, but neither one of them has ever had a real Christmas—or a real home. Will they be able to make one with each other?

Review:

A slow burn romance done well in fewer than 70 pages. The men bond over being foster kids. Stokley is the more stoic of the 2 men, so it was interesting seeing Asher wear him down with his cheery attitude. I liked how the story flowed, especially as Stokely warmed up, but his warmth and love was reserved for Asher only. Stokely still doesn’t like Christmas … ☺

3.5 stars out of 5

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas Contemporary Dee Dreamspinner Established Couple/Sequel Families/Weddings Finding Family Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Hurt/comfort Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Standalone

Holidays: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings(2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Nell Iris

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

Christmas is coming, and young couple Casey and Ellis are very much in love. Unfortunately, they’re also the definition of dirt poor, and they don’t have the money for nonessentials like decorations. Or a turkey. Or gifts. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma and Ellis’s estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest-looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon Line thrown away outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Life is still a struggle, but wealth isn’t always measured in money, and what seems worthless to others is often invaluable to the people who love it.

Review: Short, sweet story. It even managed to make me sniff just a little. All this in under 50 pages.
Ellis and Casey are a lovely couple. They are both are struggling to make a decent living – but they don’t let their situation keep them from finding happiness with each other. Xmas, being the season when miracles can happen, things start to look up for the pair.
I think the best part of this story is the love and affection these men had for each other and life in general. Definitely a lovely story, one I’d reread.

4 stars out of 5

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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
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book Bullying Christmas Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Fake relationship Families/Weddings Football Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Homophobia Humor m/m Mild level angst Misunderstanding Monthly Theme Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Re-Release Scorching/high heat Secret Identity Standalone

Holidays: Snow Balls By Tara Lain

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/snow-balls-by-tara-lain-9124-b

Blurb
A Balls to the Wall Romance
JJ LaRousse looks like a quarterback but acts like a queen. He’s trying to be proud of who he is—until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan.
Ryan Star may be tough, but he keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. His attraction to JJ threatens his secret, but he’s finding it hard to back away from a guy who’s so totally his type. Then, during a ski trip and a confrontation with JJ’s biggest nemesis, all the façades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More importantly, can JJ?

Review

I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this! This is a really nice look at how we perceive ourselves and societal expectations without being heavy or preachy.

Poor JJ suffers the fate of his insides not matching his outsides and when he tries to “fake it” he learns – again – you have to be true to yourself.

In typical Tara Lain style this was sexy and fun and a really nice holiday read to boot!

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas Dee Dreamspinner Families/Weddings Future Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Holiday Romance Humor Hurt/comfort Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series second chance at love Space Standalone

Holidays: Salvaging Claus Day (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by J. Alan Veerkamp

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

For three years, Filo has reveled in silence and solitude as the sole occupant of a space station, where he maintains the communication satellite.

Everything changes with the appearance of Luz Espina’s lifepod. Filo shares many interests with the flirtatious Luz, though Filo’s isolation has strained his communication skills. Still, Luz pushes all his buttons… and reminds him of the last man he was attracted to—an attraction that ended in disaster because the man was straight. When Luz learns Filo has never celebrated a holiday, he vows to cobble together a Claus Day celebration for them to share. But is it merely a friendly gesture… or something more?

 

Review

 

A well-developed short story. We get to know Filo in the few pages, how he ended up in his current position and a bit of his past. I felt a twinge of sadness for him, because he’d been alone for so long. Then, surprise, we meet Luz. Well not really, if you pay attention to when Filo catalogues the storeroom inventory, you get a hint.

Anyway, back to the story – Luz is larger than life and a welcome distraction on the lonely space station. He is fun and does not know the meaning of boundaries J When he finds out that Filo has never had a Claus day celebration, he sets about creating one for Filo. It was so sweet. For a short story, it includes loss, loneliness, humour, heat and a believable HEA.

Overall, it’s a good story, definitely one I’d reread.

 

3.5 stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Families/Weddings farmer Gay Gay Heat Index Holiday Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Monthly Theme Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Older MCs Opposites attract Part of a Series second chance at love Standalone

Holidays: Hope Is the Thing with Feathers (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Brandon Witt

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

Fifty-six-year-old Samuel Phillips is all alone on his small farm in the Ozarks, with nothing but a menagerie of chickens, pheasants, turkeys, and other birds as company—which is just the way he likes it. In fact, if Samuel had his way, he’d tear down his neighbor’s house so his solitude could be absolute. One day Faloola, his favorite turkey, escapes, forcing Samuel to make the trek next door. When Raymond Webber—sixty-seven—answers the door as naked as the day he was born, Samuel doesn’t know whether he’s more annoyed… or attracted. The two men are opposites in every way—Samuel is serious, while Raymond believes in free love and herbal relaxation. The weeks leading up to Christmas are rocky to say the least, but some holiday spirit might help them get past their differences….

Review

There was a lot about this that I really liked. The MCs were quirky and unique and older – a lot older than your typical romance hero – and they lived out in the country and were solitary souls.

 

However, I was really put off by the opening “meeting” – poor turkey! – and there were several times when I got pretty frustrated at Samuel. I wasn’t convinced of their long term compatibility and that detracted a bit from my enjoyment as well.  I think the whole turkey thing colored my feelings a bit and may have influenced my overall enjoyment.

 

It was very entertaining, but not my favorite story.

 

3 of 5 stars

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