3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Bi-Sexual Book Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Gay Holiday Homophobia Humor Insta Love Little to no angst m/m Mild/low level heat Military Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Secret Identity writer

Holiday House Swap by Sarah Madison

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents


Reclusive writer Noah Kinley is facing a dilemma: how to confess to the world he’s really the author of a best-selling romance series. For years, his friend Julie has been the face of his brand, but she wants her life back now. Fast running out of ideas for his popular series, Noah wants to break out into other genres. Not that he’s writing much of anything at the moment anyway, thanks to paralyzing writer’s block. With his publisher breathing down his neck for the next installment, he hopes a change of scene will get his writer’s juices flowing again. Desperate enough to try anything, during the holidays Noah swaps his isolated cabin in the woods for a gentrified horse farm.

USAF Major Connor Harrison has chosen forced retirement over facing charges for an unauthorized mission to rescue a buddy from behind enemy lines. No one expects him home for the holidays, and he certainly didn’t anticipate finding a stranger in his house, much less Noah Kinley with his acid tongue and a wry sense of humor that pierces all of Connor’s defenses.

Both men need to figure out what the next chapter in their lives will be—and whether it will include each other.


This is a short-ish holiday story that really doesn’t have much to do with the holidays at all. It really could have happened almost anytime.

On the one hand, it’s got really almost no angst and ends on a very happy, high note, so if you’re looking for something really light and fluffy, this might satisfy.

On the other hand, there was a lot of this story that just didn’t gel.

First, I didn’t get a military vibe from Connor at all. He finds a guy in his tub and the next thing you know he’s inviting himself along to the museum, watching movies with him on Netflix and teaching him to ride. There was no angry brooding. No military toughness. No precision in his actions. No PTSD. Nothing other than a description of his past career to indicate he was ex-military.

Noah was a cranky introvert who supposedly did the house swap because of writer’s block but we don’t see him overcoming the writer’s block or really even devoting a lot of time to that. Instead he focuses on solving Connor’s problems for him.

Those things wouldn’t have bothered me much if it weren’t for the fact that the relationship between Noah and Connor just felt “off”. They don’t flirt much or really have any significant sexual tension until they suddenly in a pool getting one another off. (I thought the whole “you’re just a bad kisser” thing was funny, though!)

Even once they’ve established a sexual relationship there isn’t much sentimentality to it. (I might have missed it but there was no discussion of feelings that I saw, even at the end when important things happen.)

I just didn’t connect with these guys as a couple and Connor felt a bit too distant to me and not all that warmly attached to Noah. I didn’t understand when they went from being a hook-up to boyfriends and definitely not to something more serious than that.

As I said earlier, this might be for you if you’re just in the mood for something nice and light, but it wasn’t satisfying for me.

3 of 5 stars (I rounded up because sometimes this was funny and I’m a sucker for books where the poor, misunderstood guy gets all the kudos in the end.)


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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

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