Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Hero for the Holidays by Charles Payseur

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

 

Cody travels from Metro City to the Caribbean island lair of Dr. Devious to look after the place while the supervillain is in space for the holidays… and maybe to mend his broken heart. With Christmas fast approaching, Cody is desperate to avoid reminders of his recent disastrous breakup, and a few weeks of sun and relaxation sound perfect—until a drunk (but very cute) superhero crashes the party by literally crashing onto the beach.
And that’s just the start of Cody’s problems—angry shark-men, mysterious lava creatures, and a malfunctioning AI all make his holiday getaway anything but relaxing. Amid the chaos of his adventures in lair-sitting, though, Cody might find just what he needs—a new chance at love.

Review

When Cody agrees to lair sit for Dr. Devious, he thought he would be in for a nice relaxing holiday on the island. What happens will change his life forever. Trying to get over a bad break up Cody just wants to soak up some sunshine and forget his pain, but unexpected visitors and an artificial intelligence gone haywire is what he must deal with.
This story is a fast paced read that pulled me in right from the start. Cody’s adventure is full of comical mishaps and an engaging plot. Cody is a regular person and readers can relate to him and how he deals with what is happening on the island. It was fun to see all the misunderstandings happen throughout this story. This is a sweet and endearing read and look forward to more from this author in the future.

Number of stars out of 5: 4

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Stuck with You by Jay Northcote

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42930903-stuck-with-you?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Patrick has been single since he broke up with his cheating ex almost a year ago. With Christmas looming, he’s resigned to spending it alone with only memories of happier times for company. When a business trip with a co-worker leaves them stranded in the Lake District due to heavy snow, it seems Patrick will have company for Christmas after all. It’s a shame his companion is Kyle, who’s undeniably attractive, but annoying as hell.
Aware of Patrick’s reluctant admiration, Kyle basks in the attention even though Patrick isn’t the type of man he normally goes for. Averse to relationships after being hurt in the past, Kyle enjoys the occasional hook up, but has given up on seeking anything more meaningful.

Stuck together, their antagonism escalates along with a heavy dose of sexual tension until it finally ignites. What starts as a Christmas fling soon feels like something special; but will their tentative connection melt away as the snow thaws? If they’re going to take a chance on finding happiness together, they’ll have to put their differences aside and learn to trust one another.

Review: This is one of the few times I didn’t fully like or connect with a character, in this case, Kyle.
The two men, Patrick, (older, somewhat staid) and Kyle, (younger, bratty) do not get along at work. Their boss sends them on a business trip, telling them to work out their differences. They get stranded near a small village and have to cohabit while waiting out a snowstorm. During this time, all the two MCs do is snark and bicker back and forth, until they admit their attraction to each other. They go from enemies to intimate in 5 seconds flat, with a little spanking thrown in. I have to admit that I didn’t feel that there was much chemistry between the Patrick and Kyle, at least not until near the end. There were some nice moments when they weren’t being defensive – both men have been hiding past hurts – especially when they celebrated Xmas.
This is not my favourite by Jay Northcote, but the author is a master at his craft, making it an overall good story.

3.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert book and audiobook narrated by Sean Crisden

Audible Link:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Better-Not-Pout-Audiobook/1488206163?qid=1544021897&sr=sr_1_2&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PRD1FWTW48ZYY2KE8E7Z&

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40242604-better-not-pout?from_search=true

Blurb
One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

Review
This holiday romance is cute and uplifting, befitting the holiday spirit, but it also has that typical emotional intensity that I’ve come to look for in any book by Annabeth Albert. I was expecting something light and maybe a bit mushy, an easy read to get into the right frame of mind for the holidays. This was so much more than that, though.

I adored Teddy from the beginning and his good cheer and positive attitude to life make him a perfect match for Nick, who very much needs what Teddy has to offer. Even if he doesn’t realize it.

Nick is also a great character, very steady and competent, though somewhat emotionally closed-off and grumpy at first. He’s not really feeling the holiday spirit, santa claus suit notwithstanding.
Nick’s at a point in his life where he needs to find a new direction, and is feeling a bit lost.
Enter Teddy… who makes Nick feel again and pushes him to reassess how he wants to live his life. Go Teddy!

Nick and Teddy are very different in age and outlook, but they have both known loss and as a result are similarly playing it safe in some way or other. Nick more obviously so than Teddy. These two characters are just so right together, they complement and inspire each other in the very best of ways and have a great connection, both emotionally and chemistry-wise.
I felt like knocking some sense into Nick though, because he seems hell-bent on throwing away his chance at love and happiness. Stubborn man.

I love May/December stories and this was an exceptional take on that trope.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Provided for Review

Review by Morgan – audiobook

I totally agree with Karen about the story and Sean Crisden’s narration was perfection! A totally enjoyable holiday experience! Highly Recommeded!

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is By Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Jared’s been all over the world as a traveling manny with Holiday Helpers, and the itch to put down roots is is starting to eclipse his wanderlust—especially since his current family is a handful.
After culinary school, Wes did some wandering of his own, exploring Central America before settling as a resort chef in his mother’s homeland of Costa Rica, a place he loves and plans to stay. If he’s learned one thing, it’s to be wary of flings with vacationers. Still, he can’t stand to watch two little Swiss kids lose their belief in Saint Nicholas, so he’ll lend a hand to the manny assisting the family. It won’t be easy to recreate a traditional European Christmas in a tropical paradise.
Between a snowball fight on a sunny beach and sledding down an active volcano, Jared and Wes discover some renewed holiday magic of their own. Can they make it last a lifetime?

Review

This was a story that just didn’t have enough length to work. We got an idea of where this was going to go and just about when it seems like it gets it’s legs, it’s over.

While I appreciated the need for brevity and technically the story is all there, what it felt like was a lovely lead in and a brief exploration of the meet cute, then pow – it’s over and a maybe HFN.

I’m not sure how much longer it needed to be but I really just didn’t feel our MCs connecting much and I learned way more about the family/kids than the new boyfriend.

In any case – there were some cute moments but I wasn’t satisfied in the end.

2.75 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4) by L.A. Witt

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41718469-christmas-homecoming

Blurb

August 1939. Roger Miller and Jack O’Brien have been close since childhood. By the time they realize there’s more between them than friendship, Jack is leaving their sleepy Iowa town for college. But they console themselves knowing he’ll be home for Christmas. Right?

It is Christmas before they see each other again, but that Christmas comes six years and a world war later. Aged, beaten, and shaken by combat, they’re not the boys they were back then, but their feelings for each other are stronger than ever.

Neither know the words to say everything they’ve carried since that peacetime summer kiss, though. Even as they stand in the same room, there’s a thousand miles between them.

But maybe that’s some distance the little angel in Roger’s rucksack can cross.

The Christmas Angel series books are standalones and can be read in any order.

Review

This was so sweet! Although this was a bit hard to swallow –I still loved it and was so glad for their HEA. LA Witt really did a nice job imagining the hardship of war for these boys and how it would affect their future decisions. I loved the line “We can be some other town’s ______ bacherlors” – such a lovely outcome for them!

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

Blurb
The holidays are a time for second chances.

Warren Blessing lost his wife (two years ago), and his kids decide he’s been alone too long. They send him on a holiday singles cruise so he can meet someone new.

On the flight from Chicago to Miami, he sits next to an attractive man, but when the flight’s over, he doesn’t think he’ll see him again.

Fletcher Hammond is a professional mystery shopper for vacation destinations and travel. After a split from his unfaithful fiancé, he’s embarking on a singles cruise. He meets a lovely gentleman on the flight, whose conversation and cocktails help Fletcher through his fear of takeoffs, but he doesn’t expect to see him again.

As if by fate, a meeting in the ship’s dining room renews their mutual attraction. But can they build a relationship with distance and baggage working against them? Or will they part ways when they return to port?

Review
This is a cute and lighthearted read, low on angst or drama of any kind.

Our two MC’s, Warren and Fletcher, meet on a plane and reconnect on a cruise, spending almost all their time together having fun and living the VIP life, thanks to Fletcher’s mystery job. Reality has no chance to intrude, it’s all fun and games. I was a bit disappointed that little happened that would actually have enabled them to find a profound emotional connection. I’d have liked it better if they’d have shared some more meaningful conversations too (on page), or if there had been even the smallest problem to overcome.

Warren’s a bit ambiguous about his marriage and sexual identity, which made me feel sorry for his late wife. The kids are a nice touch, adding some extra merry fluff to the story as they cheer their dad on from the sidelines.

Number of stars out of 5: 3

 

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Release Day/Time for Holidays: The First Noel by Joe Cosentino

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-first-noel-by-joe-cosentino-10018-b


Blurb

Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories: Book Three

Each Christmas has marked a milestone in Bobby and Paolo’s love story. But will this year be their last noel?

It’s no surprise Bobby isn’t feeling much holiday spirit—not when he suspects his husband, Paolo, might be interested in his new business associate, the incredibly handsome Noel. On top of that, Bobby’s father is hanging up his Santa suit at the department store due to health issues; and worst of all, Geoffrey’s birth mother, funded by antigay extremists, is threatening their family. She’s trying to take away Bobby and Paolo’s adopted son, but she’ll have to face their supportive friends, family, and pastor before she can tear Geoffrey from the only real home he’s ever known.

With so many challenges in their path, the December grooms will need an extra helping of holiday magic this year. Rumor has it Santa’s on his way to spread some holiday cheer.

Review

The First Noel is the third holiday novella featuring Bobby and Paolo. This one picks up a year later, around Christmas time. Bobby and Paolo have adopted the young boy Geoffrey, but sadly things seemed to have hit a rough patch between Bobby and Paolo. Paolo is work long hours, has been seen out with a handsome man, and Bobby’s mother and best friend are convinced that Paolo is having an affair. To top things off Geoffrey’s mother shows up out of the blue, wanting her son back, while being backed by an antigay group. Bobby is also having to deal with the fact that his father’s health issues are becoming more serious.

For a story that took less than an hour to read, it really had all I like in a good book. In my opinion Bobby and Geoffrey are the stars of this story. Geoffrey is such an adorable little boy and Bobby is the backbone of the family. The secondary characters provide some comic relief. There is a tiny bit of drama and a whole lot of love.

4 Stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: The Magician’s Angel (The Christmas Angel #3) by Jordan L. Hawk

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/series/242950

Blurb

Vaudeville stage magician Christopher Fiend lives for the spotlight. His chance at big time stardom awaits him in Chicago, the next stop on the circuit after the little town of Twelfth Junction.

Edward Smith wants nothing to do with his family’s theater. Until Christopher catches his eye on opening night, then treats him to a very special performance during intermission.

When a dead body turns up in the middle of Christopher’s act, suspicion immediately falls on him. If Christopher and Edward can’t work together to clear his name, Christopher won’t make it to Chicago in time. Edward knows he shouldn’t get attached to a man who will be gone in two days, but his heart—and a very special angel—have other ideas.

The Christmas Angel series of holiday romances follow the travels of an angel ornament through the decades as she inspires (and sometimes nudges) lonely men to find their Happily Ever After.

The Magician’s Angel is the third in series, which can be read in any order.

Review

As I mentioned with Eli’s book from this series – these don’t need to be read in order just know they are vaguely connected through history via this angel of mysterious power.

I’ve been really enjoying learning/looking at the way the men in these stories have connected given the fact that – to varying degrees – they all needed to hide. It’s been fascinating.

This is during the age of Vaudeville and as a set, the artists in these travelling groups were more open minded than most. However, the lovers still have to hide.

I’m a big Jordan L Hawk fan, but I have to tell you this wasn’t a great story for me. I’m not keen on mysteries and this felt very much like a “Clue” mystery in the most OTT way – which can be fun – but I’m not a fan. I also don’t care much for magicians though I did appreciate learning more about the showmanship of Vaudeville.

Though I didn’t love it, it was well written and good, just not my favorite.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Too Hot For Santa by Helena Stone

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

Jonah Walsh’s fledgling acting career in Dublin comes to an abrupt end when a video of him in a compromising position goes viral on social media. The offer of a part in a Christmas play in Sydney, Australia arrives at exactly the right time, although he isn’t sure about celebrating Christmas in the scorching heat. Nick Claseman isn’t happy that the actor he and his sister have hired will be occupying his granny flat. As for Jonah’s enthusiasm for Christmas, Nick doesn’t get it. He hasn’t decorated or celebrated in years. When Jonah turns out to be anything but a stuck-up starlet with delusions of grandeur, and Nick proves he’s not usually grumpy and borderline hostile, the two men gravitate toward each other. Their attraction morphs into something more when Jonah reacquaints Nick with the pleasures of Christmas and Nick shows Jonah the beauty of Australia. But Jonah is only Down Under for a few months. It would take a Christmas miracle for them to have a future together

Review: Another good story in the collection. For a short story, it reads more like a novella.
The story is aptly described in the blurb, but what it doesn’t tell you is how really good it is. It includes a transition from ‘enemies’ (one-sided really) to lovers, humour (especially with the language difference – Oz to UK English), attraction, a description of Sydney and an epilogue. I loved it!

4 stars out of 5

Copy generously provided by publisher

 

 

 

 

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b

 

Blurb

 

3 of stars out of 5

 

Paul Carpenter has his life all planned out. Or at least his father does. The right school, the right degree, the right job. Paul is on track, until a bus accident has him sitting out a coveted internship, babysitting, or being babysat, by a grandfather he barely remembers during his holiday stay in a Florida RV park. His father’s reasoning? How much temptation can Paul find around a bunch of senior citizens playing bingo? There’ll be nothing to distract him from his studies.
It’s hard to muster his holiday spirit when Paul is used to snow and cold, not sun, surf, and plastic flamingos in Santa hats. But then Paul meets Kevin Lombardo, who offers to show him some new holiday traditions. Suddenly Paul’s fast track hits a curve.”

Review

A sweet story about priorities in life and finding what makes you happy.
Paul’s father is set up as the bogeyman. He is a single father who is determined Paul will have a career irrespective of what Paul actually wants. Grandpa is the fun one, to him life is for living to the full. Then we meet Kevin who cares about the people who live on the and his attitude towards life gives Paul a lot to think about not to mention his growing attraction to Kevin. The only niggle I’ve got is that it ends quite abruptly. There is a jump of a year at the end and it felt like a lot had been skipped over leaving me dissatisfied. I think this story is one that could be expanded in the future.

 

3 of stars out of 5

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review