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!

 

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 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 Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

Blurb

Tony Gatti had his life planned: get his veterinarian license and go to work with his dad and uncle. Soon after achieving his goals, he learned the shadows and blurriness in his vision went beyond needing glasses. Retinitis Pigmentosa is a genetic mutation with no cure. With his sight almost gone, he moves into his grandmother’s St. Augustine, Florida home with his guide dog, Raven, to start life over. Nonna Concetta thinks she knows the perfect job for him. Her vet is looking for someone to destress the cats at a local rescue.
Javier didn’t plan to hire a cute former veterinarian to fill the role of cat cuddler, but Tony couldn’t be more perfect. Worried his attraction is inappropriate and knowing the holiday season always depresses him, Javier wonders if he should ask Tony out, or if he’d just be spreading the gloom to someone who already has enough of his own. But if he takes the plunge, could it turn out to be the best holiday ever?

Review

This is a sweet but pretty forgettable story of a man who doesn’t let his new medical condition get him down and who finds someone to love.

They both love animals and enjoy Tony’s funny grandma.

Beyond that there’s not much to keep this in your memory – but I enjoyed it well enough to finish it.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Time for the Holidays: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar Story Exit Through the Gift Shop by Kim Fielding

 

 

Dreamspinner Presents

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

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb

Alex’s traditional family Christmas Compromise means spending the holiday at a second-rate theme park, Poseidon’s Planet, but Alex doesn’t mind. He enjoys the rides and the company of his family, and it’s a good break from his going-nowhere existence back in Indiana. Then he meets a certain sexy employee in a pirate costume, and Alex’s vacation gets even better. But thrill rides last only a short time, and sooner or later everyone has to return to real life. Alex long ago gave up on marrying a handsome prince—will he have to give up on his pirate as well?

Review

I loved this story, the characters are fantastic and have a very tight familial bond. I enjoyed Alex’s family and their Christmas compromise vacation. Each character had a very distinct voice in the story, quirks and in such a short story I admire Fielding’s ability to write such well-rounded characters in a short.
Alex meets Rory in Poseidon’s Planet theme park and they have an instant attraction. With time against them (Alex’s family is only there for a few days) Rory reaches out to Alex and they have a very sweet, short date the next day. There is just something so captivating and charming about both of them, and the banter they share is both sexy and incredibly funny. I loved the sense of family found in the story, and how Alex’s family really embraced Rory from the first moment.
This is a super sweet, smile inducing short you do not want to miss out on!

Number of stars out of 5
4

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Time to Celebrate the Holidays: Santa Daddy by Keira Andrews

Goodreads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42904546-santa-daddy?from_search=true

Blurb

Mall Santas aren’t supposed to be hot.

Hunter Adams is hopelessly adrift after college. He’s still a virgin, can’t find a real job, and has no clue what to do with his life. In desperation, he returns to his humiliating old job as an elf at the Santa’s Village in his hometown’s dying mall. The Santa on the job is an unexpectedly sexy lumberjack, twice Hunter’s size and age. He makes Hunter feel very naughty—too bad he’s grumpy and intimidating.

Years after the tragic death of his partner, Nick Spini has his beagle and long, hard days on his Christmas tree farm. That’s plenty. But he can’t refuse a loyal friend’s plea for help and finds himself filling in as Santa at the local mall. Despite Nick’s attempt to stay aloof, the beautiful, anxious young man playing elf brings out his long-dormant daddy instincts.

When a surprise blizzard traps them alone in Nick’s isolated forest home, their attraction burns even brighter. Will they surrender to the sizzling connection between them and find the release and comfort they crave?

Santa Daddy is a holiday gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring an age gap, steamy m/m first times, daddy role-playing and light spanking, Christmas romance feels, and of course a happy ending.

Review

This is just the right kind of book to get snowed in with! Nick is just the right kind of grumpy lumberjack you want to cuddle with and hunter is so awkwardly sweet and insecure- the work perfectly together.
I loved the emotional depth Keira put into Nick’s past, and it really emphasized his reclusiveness and unwillingness to be around people. That made him being roped into playing Santa in the mall so very funny and charming. He and Hunter have instant attraction that is off the charts, you can definitely save up on your heating bills with this books.
I usually do like light kink in books, but I shy away from the more structured BDSM club themes and plotlines. Full time alternative lifestyle is not my preferred reading material. What I liked about this book is the balance, the kink is there but it is much more about the dynamic between the two then the props and rules and contracts like in other BDSM/heavy kink books (not that there is anything wrong about them, just my personal preference). It made the sex between them smoldering hot without being the main focus of the relationship. It is the perfect balance in my opinion and I was kind of sad it didn’t go on longer so I could have more of their hotness (there is plenty there, I’m just greedy).

I also loved Hunter’s relationship with his mother, and his own struggle with fitting into the “adult role” he thinks society expects his to uphold as a collage graduate. It is something I think many people can identify with, and showed that not everyone have to walk the same pre-designed path.

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories this season, and you should definitely check it out (Keira’s Christmas story last year, In Case of Emergency, was also fantastic) if you are looking for some holiday cheer with a heaping dose of “Yes daddy”.

Number of stars out of 5
4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Comfort the Hurts: Oz by Lily Morton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42840413-oz?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Blurb: What happens when temporary becomes forever?

Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.
However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He’s also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.
Oz banks on the fact that they’re from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he’s finally home?

Review:
This book ticked all my boxes: snark/banter, engaging characters in Silas, Oz and old friends – Henry and Ivo and potentials for a future story –Niall and Milo.
It’s a hilarious story right from the start, when Oz comes home to find his soon to be ex BF in bed with someone else. The snark starts there and pretty much continues through the whole book.
Lily Morton has a talent for making her characters fun, yet flawed and a bit vulnerable, but not overwhelmingly so. Oz has a penchant for well-to-do blokes who tend to look down at his working class roots. He fully expects that things will be the same with the earl, (his new employer), but he’s so wrong ☺
Which brings us to Silas, Henry’s brother (and no, you don’t have to read Risk Taker, but why wouldn’t you?). Silas (aka the earl), is a veterinarian. He doesn’t stand on ceremony and is currently preoccupied with saving his ancestral home. When he and Oz meet there is an attraction that they both try to ignore, (considering their track records), but they fail epically!
What I loved about the story is that it’s a straightforward romance – the MCs meet, they get to know each other, and while they may have doubts about their feelings, they don’t give up trying to make their budding relationship work. There’s no drama –except with Silas’s mother, no stupid misunderstandings. And the epilogue is so good –loved seeing them in their future.
I do hope that we get to see Niall and Milo have a story and see more of Oz and Silas.

I highly recommend this story.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40862277-the-captain-s-ghostly-gamble?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

When a ghostly dandy and his roguish companion try their hand at matchmaking, things definitely go bump in the night.

For centuries, foppish Captain Cornelius Sheridan and brooding John Rookwood have haunted the mansion they duelled and died for. Now these phantom foes must join forces to save both their home and their feuding descendents.

But when Captain Sheridan sacrifices his afterlife for the sake of true love, will Rookwood risk everything to keep his companion by his side, or is it too late to say “I love you”?

Publisher’s Note: This book is related to the Captivating Captains series.

Review

John Rockwood and Cornelius Sheridan are 200 plus year old ghosts that haunt an old manor which was the cause of their dual many years ago. On the anniversary of their death two of their descendants, Jenny and Dan show up at the manor house. Dan, it seems, wants to sell the house while Jenny wants to prove the existence of the ghosts. The two ghosts find out that the pair are actually lovers but the constant bickering between them is causing a great rift in their relationship. To try and salvage the relationship between Dan and Jenny, the ghosts decide to manifest but there is a danger of this causing them to disappear forever. Before they do this John and Cornelius admit their long-standing love for each other.

I readily admit that I was skeptical about this story. A love story between two ghosts?!? I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem. The back and forth banter between the ghosts are snarky and funny. The fondness they have for each other was apparent to me as the reader, but the moment they reveal their love for each other was so sweet.

The human couple, Dan and Jenny were a bit annoying, since neither one of them seemed to really know what the other wanted out of life and just assumed that they each wanted to live a fancy life. One simple conversation would have solved that but then this story wouldn’t have had its dramatic climax.

I highly recommend this little story. Very enjoyable for such a short read.

4.5 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Release: Escaping Solitude (The Escape Trilogy Book 2) by Sara Dobie Bauer

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42189648-escaping-solitude?from_search=true

Blurb:

Ancient vampire Andrew escaped his tropical island exile with his beloved human sailor, Edmund. They’ve now returned to Andrew’s home in nineteenth-century New Orleans and must navigate not only their developing relationship—and equally haunted pasts—but also a hungry coven of vampires Andrew used to call friends.
Desperate to stay by Andrew’s side forever, Edmund examines the impressive coven library in search of an Elder, the only creature capable of turning Edmund. Although missing for centuries, Andrew believes an Elder must still survive somewhere; they just have to find him.
The search is put on hold when Edmund receives word that his mother is ill in London, and the lovers set off on an oceanic journey surrounded by new friends and old enemies. When things go terribly wrong, Edmund’s fragile human life hangs in the balance, and an Elder must be found or Andrew will be alone forever.

Review:
This is book 2 of the trilogy. It picks up with Andrew and Edmund landing in New Orleans, La – (Andrew had been exiled to a remote island). While in NOLA, Andrew learns more about Andrew and the company he kept before his exile. Andrew also gets to see another, somewhat hedonistic and sometimes darker side to Edmund. The one thing constant is their love for each other. So imagine my surprise when out of the blue, Andrew allows a ménage involving Edmund. For me, it came out of left field and almost made me stop reading. But the story is so good that, despite that blip, I want to see them get their HEA.
The story is short, but packed with historical imagery of 18th? century NOLA.
This installment ends on a cliffhanger, but by now I’m fully invested in the story that I can’t wait to read book 3.

4 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to comfort the hurts: Blind Faith (Blind Faith #1) by N.R. Walker

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17450677-blind-faith?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Starting a new job in a new town, veterinarian Carter Reece makes a house call to a very special client.

Arrogant, moody and totally gorgeous, Isaac Brannigan has been blind since he was eight. After the death of his guide dog and best friend, Rosie, his partnership with his new guide dog, Brady, isn’t going well.

Carter tries to help both man and canine through this initiation phase, but just who is leading who?

Review

This was one of my first N.R. Walker books and I’ve reread it multiple times. This is a sweet, slow burn romance between Carter and Isaac, who is blind. Carter is the new vet in town and while doing a house call he meet Isaac and his seeing eye dog Brady. Isaac is noticeably cold towards his dog which is a big issue throughout the book but eventually he discloses why he is having a hard time excepting Brady, which is just heart breaking.

The story is told from Carter’s point of view. He seems like a very optimistic person, which is probably why he puts up with Isaac’s bad attitude. Isaac is a complex man with a lot of issues that all seem to revolve around his fear of being abandoned. I really enjoyed the dialogue between the two men and I also liked that they don’t immediately jump into bed with each other. Watching their relationship slowly progress was both beautiful yet frustrating due to Isaac’s hot and cold attitude.

There are some great secondary character who provide some comedic relief. One of the reasons I love this book so much is because of Brady. Even though his owner Isaac doesn’t have any faith that Brady will be as good as his previous dog, Brady is unshakable in his loyalty towards Isaac.

4.5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review