Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: A Stitch in Time by Asta Idonea

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-stitch-in-time-by-asta-idonea-11546-b

Blurb

When Connor’s friend signs him up for a crochet course, the last thing he expects is to find love. However, at the community center, he meets hunky Finn. There’s only one problem: Finn assumes Connor’s there for the boxing class, and Connor lets him believe it, worried Finn will ditch him if he knows Connor prefers crafting to upper cuts. Can they salvage the situation when the truth comes out?

Review

Very cute holiday romance with enough angst not to make it too cloyingly sweet. I really liked that both MC’s had such atypical hobby’s and the way they struggled to with (perceived) prejudices, even their own. The misunderstanding about why they’re both at the community center is resolved with some drama, but I really enjoyed how the author wrote that in. The writing flowed easily and was well-paced, never dragging nor rushing to cramp the necessary events into this novella-length story.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Crochet My Heart by Carol Pedroso

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2019-advent-calendar-homemade-for-the-holidays-full-set-11522-b

Blurb
Accountant Tristan plans to make a ton of crochet items for his local LGBT charity to sell at their holiday fair. His only problem? He can’t crochet.

Fortunately, the community center offers a class, and it’s taught by Charlie, who is gorgeous and sexy and seems interested. At first. Can grandmotherly fellow classmate Ivy guide the clueless men to each other, or will it take something more serious to help them see the possibilities?

Review

Crochet My Heart was a fun, sweet, little holiday romance. For being a novella, this story has everything I look for in a book. There is a great meet-cute, awkward conversation, plenty of pinning and longing looks and even a little drama. The main characters, Charlie and Tristan were well thought out and the cast of secondary were all enjoyable as well.
I recommend this story for all crochet and holiday story addicts !
4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday review: Rainbows in Sea Glass by Kim Katil

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rainbows-in-sea-glass-by-kim-katil-11591-b

Blurb

Kyle has loved James, his best friend’s older brother, for as long as he can remember. Unfortunately James is a player, and Kyle has no desire to be his latest conquest. When James suddenly turns the full weight of his charm on him, Kyle flees to Cape May Point to collect sea glass and Cape May diamonds to make a St. Nicholas Day present for his aunt.

James has always taken Kyle’s presence for granted and he’s shocked to find how integral Kyle is to his life and future happiness. Braving his family’s well-meaning attempts to help and a sudden winter storm, James heads to the shore to convince Kyle that the most precious thing they’ll find on the beach is each other.

Review

Nice enough story based on a promising trope with the MC finally getting a shot at his best friend’s brother, whom he’s been pining after for years.
However, it remained too formulaic and predictably corny, and even taking into account that it’s a novella, the story seemed a bit too rushed, with one particularly brusque jump between chapters that really bugged me. Both emotionally and physically the connection between the MC’s could have been developed better, now it all felt like a little too much too fast.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5



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Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Love in 24 Frames by C.S. Poe

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-in-24-frames-by-cs-poe-11593-b

Blurb

Declan Groves is a CPA in New York City. His adult life is dictated by routine and borderline monotony. The need to express himself, in ways his career and crippling shyness have never allowed, leads Declan to becoming an amateur stop-motion filmmaker.

The one problem is that Declan is also in love with the Wandering Artist Studios receptionist Shota Watanabe. Shota has always had a smile and engaging comment ready for Declan, but even if it is more than casual politeness, Declan hasn’t been able to get out more than a tongue-tied sentence at a time. And a man like Shota surely has no intention of waiting forever.

So when an unexpected change to Declan’s daily schedule throws the two together outside of the studio, it might be the catalyst needed to explore what’s unspoken between them. But if they’re to have a future, Declan needs to find a way to tell Shota how he truly feels.

Review

Sweet holiday romance with two older MC’s. Declan is super shy and awkward and seeing him fumble his way through his (attempts at) conversations with Shota was quite cute. I liked how the relationship between the two men developed, unhurried, based on mutual liking and respect. Though still with quite a lot of nerves and worrying on Declan’s part. Near the end, things take an unexpected turn for the worse for Shota, but Declan comes to the rescue brilliantly and his 24 frames take care of the rest.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Finding Yuletide Karol by L.A. Merrill

Dreamspinner:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2019-advent-calendar-homemade-for-the-holidays-full-set-11522-b

Blurb

Fifty years ago, during the Vietnam War, Lee Elbridge fell in love with an Army cook nicknamed Yuletide Karol, but they haven’t seen each other since.

Now, led by a clue in an old cookbook, Lee sets off on a road trip to find his lost love. He arrives on Karol’s upstate New York farm to find preparations for a handfasting in full swing, and is mistaken for the wedding planner’s assistant. As Lee is roped into folding hemp napkin goats and mashing fresh sweet potatoes, he is welcomed by Karol’s large, eccentric family of witches and pagans. When Lee and Karol finally get a moment alone, Lee tells him the truth, but it will take more than a little Yuletide magick to bring them together again after almost a lifetime.

Review
This was an amazing read! Lee’s is suffering through another work Christmas party, when he is given an old cookbook, which just so happens to contain the one thing he has always wanted….the last name of the man he fell in love with 50 years ago. He, then embarks on a quest to find this man.
I haven’t read a novella in a long while, if ever that touched me as much as this one did. Finding Yuletide Karol is an absolutely beautiful story.
5 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: A Boyfriend For Christmas by Jay Northcote


Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48915871-a-boyfriend-for-christmas

Blurb

Archie’s posh parents want him to meet a nice girl–how can he tell them he’s fallen for a bad boy instead?

Closeted, innocent and lonely, Archie Arandale longs for someone special in his life. A Christmas party organised by his wealth management company is the last place he expects to meet the man of his dreams.

With his leather jacket, tattoos, and piercings, Cal Turner turns heads the moment he walks through the door. He definitely isn’t looking for a boyfriend, but Archie’s hesitant charm captures his attention, and sneaking off during the party to have a little fun can only make a dull evening more interesting.

After their reckless and thrilling encounter, Archie is keen for more experience and Cal is happy to oblige. The need for secrecy means this can only be a casual fling, yet as they spend time together in the run up to Christmas, their feelings become more intense than either of them had bargained for. How can Archie find the courage to tell his family about Cal, when Cal’s the exact opposite of the ‘nice girl’ they’ve been hoping for?

Contains: A closeted virgin, a tattooed biker, class differences, a dramatic coming out, a very inappropriate Christmas gift, and a happy ending (of course).

Review

This book left me feeling giddy and optimistic. It’s a hopeful and fun read, very heartwarming, and surprisingly naughty…

The author brilliantly captures those first nervous moments of falling for someone, wondering if they’ll like you back, the excitement as well as the awkwardness that can come with firsts of any kind, and most especially the passion and delicious rush you get when falling in love.

Archie and Cal are, at first glance, an unlikely, but utterly adorable pair. The posh rich kid and the tattooed, slightly older, biker… how can anyone resist reading this story 😉 I loved that despite the small age gap, Cal and Archie are always on an equal footing and feel incredibly at ease around each other, almost from their first meeting.

Jay Northcote has a knack for writing real-life characters who seem completely genuine and authentic, and he pulls it off here too. He always makes me feel as if I could meet his MC’s just by setting foot in a pub in England, or maybe during a hike in Wales. A Boyfriend For Christmas is a light-hearted holiday romance with a great set of secondary characters, even those that make a rather awful first impression, and a great epilogue. Loved the humor and the inspirational gag gifts!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Christmas Ghosts by Jenn Moffatt

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-ghosts-by-jenn-moffatt-11562-b

Blurb

Dealing with the unexpected loss of his mother isn’t how carpenter Steve Browning planned to spend his Christmas. Hoping her costume jewelry can bring some happiness to others, he takes it to the local community theater, where he runs into his first love, Troy Baxter.

Troy’s trying to help his sister put on a gender-fluid version of A Christmas Carol, but no one on the cast or crew knows which end of a hammer to hold let alone use a power tool. Then a face from the past brings a present-day miracle… one that could lead to the happy future they both thought they gave up back in high school.

Review

This is a mellow second chance at love story, and I wasn’t blown away by it or the MC’s. The story builds up very slowly and the actual relationship-part of it felt sudden and rushed to me. I didn’t quite feel the magic between Troy and Steve.
I also didn’t much care for the fact that Troy had been back home so long, yet he didn’t reach out to Steve, not even when he was dealing with a devastating loss. It doesn’t really help sell the strength of their friendship or the love that supposedly still exists after all these years apart.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Yuletide Treasure (Goddess-Blessed #3) by Eliot Grayson

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48470441-yuletide-treasure

Blurb
There’s not enough Yuletide spirit in the world to fix this holiday disaster…

Eben Sypeman’s world is falling apart. It’s two days before Yule and his business partner is dead, leaving behind empty accounts and looming bankruptcy. And if that isn’t bad enough, his patron goddess is irritated with him. It seems she’s tired of his tendency to mince words and avoid conflict. She’s insisting—quite forcefully—that he start being totally honest with everyone, including himself. Divinely enforced honesty couldn’t have come at a less opportune time, especially when his clerk’s tall, dark and distractingly handsome son enters the picture.

The last thing on Tim Pratchett’s mind is romance. All the former soldier wants is to fill in for his sick father at work and recover from his war wounds in peace. But there’s something about the grumpy Eben that confounds and entices him in equal measure. Their timing couldn’t be worse. They’re complete opposites. And yet…none of that matters when he’s with Eben.

But if Eben and Tim have any hope of finding their very own happily ever after, they’ll have to survive a dickens of a truth curse and the machinations of a trickster goddess—all while searching for enough yuletide treasure to save them all.

A joyous, relaxing Yule indeed. Bah, humbug.

This is an M/M romance with explicit scenes, a voyeuristic pagan goddess, and an odious nephew. Despite any other possible similarities to A Christmas Carol, there are neither ghosts nor geese, but readers can expect a happy ending and at least one use of the word “dickens.”

Review
Yuletide Treasure is very, very loosely based on Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Meaning that there are some similar phrases and an appearance of a “ghost” who is a god or patron of some sort.

Eben is a man barely holding it together. His business partner recently died and with his death Eben found out that their import business is all but bankrupt. His clerk is ill and when Eben sends him home to rest his son Timothy shows up to work in his place. Insert some awkward conversations, a meddling ghost-god, an anti-lying curse and search for missing money.

This was a charming, quirky little story that I enjoyed very much.
4 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Hometown Christmas by Garret Leigh

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48399133-hometown-christmas

Blurb

Yani Nicolaou is sworn off love for good. After fleeing a bad break-up in London, the only blood, sweat, and tears he has left are for his gyro stall at the Christmas market. Rebound fling? No thanks. He’s sticking to one-night-stands.

Ex-army vet Gavin Richie has even less capacity for romance. Managing a homeless shelter while recovering from injury keeps him far too busy. So what if he’s often alone? He’s content being single, or so he thinks until a chance meeting lights a spark he can’t ignore.

Yani is the warmth and affection Gavin hadn’t known he was missing. As Christmas lights up the city, their lives entwine in more ways than one. Falling for each other is easy. Holding on is harder, unless a hometown Christmas proves their love can last longer than the festive season.

Review

A nice, heartwarming read, perfectly in tune with the season. I did sometimes have a bit of difficulty remaining invested in the story, as there is not that much conflict or obstacles to overcome for the MC’s and I didn’t completely grasp Yani’s reservations with regards to pursuing a relationship with Gavin. Throughout most of the story it’s very much a hook-up/friends with benefits dynamic and the jump from new friends to love happened a bit too sudden for me. I did really like those final, revealing scenes between Gavin and Yani though.
I loved the writing, especially the colloquialisms, which really helped give that lovely English flavor to the story.

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48481844-mr-right-now?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=gmVbM2DFaa&rank=1

Blurb
He’s Mr. Right Now, but for how long?

When Russ suffers a Thanksgiving disaster, his gorgeous neighbor Esteban is there to save the day. And after an innocent mix-up leads to the former Hollywood hottie playing the role of Russ’s date, Russ thinks scoring Esteban as his fake boyfriend is a huge win. The newly discharged marine is healing inside and out and could use some holiday cheer.

For his part, Esteban is intrigued by his big, bad neighbor. He likes how his matchmaking cat brings out an unexpected caring side of Russ. Desire flares as the reasons to continue their ruse pile up for both men.

And pretending feels so good. From chocolaty kisses to late night cuddles, their burgeoning friendship is getting cozier and cozier. But as the end date for their little deception looms, all the real feelings they’ve tried to ignore come tumbling in. Each must decide whether they have what it takes to ring in the New Year as a couple.

Mr. Right Now is a stand-alone holiday novella with sweet, low-angst feels, spicy love scenes, and foodie inspired, quirky Oregon romance with a military flavor. Happy ending guaranteed with no cliffhangers!

Review

This is the perfect Fake relationship trope story, I like that they stumble into it and not plan in as a scheme of some sort. Russ and Esteban have this easy friendship that gets better the more time they spend together. I also enjoyed how, despite them making plans to ‘break up’, they keep getting pushed back, until they realize this had become much more then pretend.
Russ was my favorite character, he’s doing some big life changes and I could relate to that. He’s going after his dreams, figuring out what he wants, and that includes Esteban. Never giving up and going for it even when it’s out of his comfort zone. He inspires me to dream nigger, do better.

They are both well rounded characters for such a short story, with specific interests, tastes and personalities. Annabeth puts her unique touch into every story, with military heroes I always enjoy reading about. Also, there was just enough heat to keep satisfied, even though I would love more, but in a novella you have to balance every story component.
Sweet HEA, Romantic with just the right amount of taste for more, Mr. Right Now is the perfect Christmas Romance to bring a smile and warmth to your heart this holiday season.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


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