Tag Archives: Holiday

4 Stars for Yuletide Yearning: Wheel of the Year by Trevor Knight – #MM #Holiday

1.4

Title: Yuletide Yearning: Wheel of The Year
Author Name: Trevor Knight
Publication Date & Length: December 25, 2014 – 58pgs

Synopsis

Naysayer David gets dragged into a Yule Ritual with enthusiastic witch Nick, but plans go awry from a mischievous spirit and the two find out what true magic can be.

Yule is a time of cheer, laughter, and hope for many witches, but not so for David. Sullen and secretive, David is stuck with an overly chipper witch named Nick to officiate a Yule Ritual for their coven. Things take an unexpected turn when a mischievous Yule spirit named Tristan starts to heat things up between David and Nick. Will brooding David open up and find the true meaning of Yule in Nick, in Tristan, or somewhere in between the two?

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Review

FourStars

Although I started out reading this book a bit hesitant since I’m not really big into witches… Not to mention the first scene is, er, well, risque so to speak. However, I’m glad that I stuck with it.
David isn’t a big fan of the holidays because something he doesn’t talk to anyone about happened a few years ago. Too bad he got stuck with the overly excited Nick to prepare for the Yule Ritual for their coven.
It doesn’t take long for the pair to meet a sexy stranger, who immediately changes how the trip started out. David is no longer focused on the negative side of things and realizes there is more to Nick than the fact that he is annoyingly happy.
As the story progresses we see Nick grow quite a bit in character as we see the side he was always too afraid to show before. I would’ve loved to get more of the history behind his character, but the story itself didn’t feel particularly lacking because of it. I just liked the evolution we saw in him.
The story is filled with quite a bit of lusting and desire, which finally comes to fruition toward the last quarter of the story or so.. and WHEW it gets HOT.
I did feel at times since there is three men that things got a bit fumbled or hard to follow, but only so much of that can be avoided. There were times where I got the two main men confused as their characters switch around quite a bit in the third person POV. I even think at one point there was a name misused in place of one of the other men’s names.
Overall, a pretty good read. I enjoyed the build up of the tension and the growth of the characters along with the little secret Tristan was hiding along with finding out the secrets behind David and Nick.
Renee

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3 Stars for Bah Humbug, Benson by Jambrea Jo Jones – #MM #Holiday

1.3

Title: Bah Humbug, Benson
Author Name: Jambrea Jo Jones
Publication Date & Length: December 25, 2014 – 50pgs

Synopsis

Pint-size Santa to the rescue. He dares you not to get into the holiday spirit.

Benson hates Christmas. It brings back too many memories he wants to forget. Most years he hibernated his way through the season, but not this year, this year things are going to change. Is Benson ready for them? Ian loves everything about winter and spending time with his son. They spend their time making traditions and soaking up the holiday season. It’s just the two of them against the world, until they meet Benson.

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Review

ThreeStar

We meet Benson, who hates Christmas because of his terrible upbringing and how his father became a beast during that time of the year. I never was able to connect to Benson because at every turn he was complaining and whining about something. His story for me lacked beef. It was very flat. His dad only got really angry and beat up his mom around Christmas? Or that’s how it came off. He would normally be mean, but it was only bad because of the stress that came with Christmas. What stress? They didn’t get a tree. They didn’t get presents. The didn’t do the big, expensive, time consuming meal. So I ask again, what added stress was causing his father to flip out?
Then we have Ian. He is a single dad of a ten year old, who acts like a fifteen year old or older. I actually came to kind of like Ian. He was dealing with the loss of his wife while still trying to raise his son. What I didn’t care for was the fact that it was never really address that Ian went from being married to a woman to dating a man and the fact that a ten year old would most certainly have some questions about that.
Over all I didn’t think the writing style was bad. I think the dialogue needed some finesse to make it smoother and keep the readers attention. The plot line was a bit flat as there is no twists or turns or anything that kept the pages really turning. While I know it is a novella, there was much to be desired for me since I don’t do the instalove type relationships and that’s exactly what it was even if the son did a little prodding.
Renee

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AuthorBio

Jambrea wanted to be the youngest romance author published, but life impeded the dreams. She put her writing aside and went to college briefly, then enlisted in the Air Force. After serving in the military, she returned home to Indiana to start her family. A few years later, she discovered yahoo groups and book reviews. There was no turning back. She was bit by the writing bug.
She enjoys spending time with her son when not writing and loves to receive reader feedback. She’s addicted to the internet so feel free to email her anytime.
from Total-E-Bound’s website

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3 Stars for A Family Christmas for Wake & Cody by D.C. Williams – #MMRomance #Holiday

1.3

Title: A Family Christmas for Wake and Cody
Author Name: D.C. Williams
Publication Date & Length: December 11, 2014 – 61pgs

Synopsis

Best friends since kindergarten, Wake and Cody are starting their new lives together. If they can survive Christmas.

Wake Zakrewski’s huge and lively family has always treated Cody like another son. Now that the two best friends are lovers, will that change? Or will this Christmas be the very best one? And is Wake and Cody’s the only new romance in the family?

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Review

ThreeStar

This was a quick and easy holiday read. I don’t know if it’s part of a series, but it worked fine as a stand-alone in either case.

Although I enjoyed the story, it did fall a little flat for me in the sense that there’s no real conflict. In fact, there really wasn’t even much romance. I appreciated that there wasn’t a huge, detailed sex scene (it was mostly fade-to-black and one that wasn’t very descriptive). Not every story needs that. But in this case, with very little else creating interest or tension, it probably would’ve been a good idea.

I didn’t especially like Wake or some members of his family. I understand that there was a bit of overt homophobia, but I thought the author could’ve done a better job either outright condemning it or showing us how Cody dealt with it. They were really obnoxious, and I honestly wouldn’t have wanted to be Cody. I couldn’t figure out what he liked about Wake, since Wake kept saying some of the same awful things–including referring to Cody as a f** and using that word as a slur more than once.

I was a little disappointed in how it seemed like the author was going out of her way not to have any characters be too feminine. I thought there was some great potential with the character Kenni, but I wasn’t crazy about the way things ended with him.

I appreciated the author not shying away from genuinely bisexual characters and especially for using the word bisexual (it’s easy to fall into the “it doesn’t need a label” trap). However, that was sort of negated for me by the other issues.

This wasn’t bad, but it ended up lacking enough to hold my interest.

3 stars

Amy

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AuthorBio

D.C. Williams is a writer who lives in Pennsylvania with one spouse and one child. I LOVE reader interaction. I used to add that I tended to “friend” people who added my books. I’ve taken that down because at this point I have people adding my books who I really haven’t interacted with at all. The first few months I was doing this I had run into most people who added my books somewhere on Goodreads. Since this is no longer really true (and I’ve long since eased up on the friendvites accordingly) I’m taking this down because I don’t want to discourage people who don’t enjoy author interaction from reading my books. That said, I enjoy reader interaction as much as ever, and please, feel free to add me!

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3.5 Stars for Lonnie’s New Christmas by Jenn Dease – #MM #Holiday @momsdesk1

1.3

Title: Lonnie’s New Christmas
Author Name: Jenn Dease
Publication Date & Length: December 11, 2014 – 44pgs

Synopsis

Can Lonnie overcome the bad Holiday memories with his dragon’s help?

Lonnie Douglas has reason to dislike, almost hate the holidays. His parents are now in the background of his life. Back from his time in the Navy, Vincent Taylor lands in Lonnie’s present life, hoping to show him the love and need he has always felt.

Can Lonnie handle the new responsibilities the town leaders are asking of him? Can he overcome the bad memories with his dragon’s help?

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

I thought this story was cute and sweet, short enough to read in about an hour.

I haven’t read any other stories set in this “world,” but it didn’t matter. Everything was pretty clear. Even without knowing the main characters, I felt like I had a good sense of their histories. They were hot together, and the sex was steamy (if a bit strange, with the mating). One thing I really enjoyed was how the Dragos celebrated Solstice instead of Christmas. That was very cool, and it was cute seeing their kids react to Santa.

My only hesitation was that the story felt a bit rushed and there was no real conflict. It also bordered on silly at some points. That’s mostly personal preference with a story this short, though.

Since I love dragons, I would love to read more in this world.

3.5 stars

Amy

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AuthorBio

Jenn lives in the Pittsburgh, PA area. She belongs to one of those families that has four generations living in a three block area.

Captain’s Mate is her first published book, which Jenn and her sisters are quite proud of. She loves books, her red-headed sisters, and books.

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3 Stars for The Magic of Christmas by Pelaam – #MM #Holiday

1.2

Title: The Magic of Christmas
Author Name: Pelaam
Publication Date & Length: December 6, 2014 – 55pgs

Synopsis

On a friends’ getaway in a winter wonderland, Jared and Casey discover real Christmas magic.

Jared joins his four best friends on an early Christmas holiday in a beautiful winter wonderland. He’s been in love with the talented and extroverted Casey for years, but lacked the courage to say anything.

Casey loves Jared, but despite his gregarious exterior, inside lurks someone shy and insecure and so he’s never spoken up.

Both men are about to experience real Christmas magic.

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Review

ThreeStar

This is a quirky short story with some surprising twists.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the description. The story starts out seeming like just an ordinary vacation with friends. Casey and Jared have unspoken feelings for each other, and it seems mostly like that’s where the story is headed.

It would be helpful for the synopsis to indicate that this is a fantasy story. I was taken by surprise at the magical elements. Simply saying they’re going to experience Christmas magic really doesn’t tell readers much—that’s a common expression.

I didn’t enjoy the fantasy elements, mostly because there were sudden and jarred me out of the story. The transition should have been smother, such as more hints at what was coming. I ended up feeling like the author wanted two things: Actual magic and a hot sex scene. Both were accomplished, but in a somewhat disjointed way that left me a bit disappointed. The story also could have benefited from better editing; the version I had contained a lot of punctuation/grammar errors.

It was cute in its own way, and I’m sure there are many people who will enjoy a quick holiday read.

3 stars

Amy

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AuthorBio

Born in the UK, I now reside in New Zealand. I am an Art Historian (M A Art History) with a passion for reading and writing.
I love M/M romance, history-mystery,fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi.

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4.5 Stars for Christmas in His Heart by Havan Fellows and Lee Brazil – #MM #Romance #Holiday @LeeBrazil @Havanfellows

beacon hill at night  

Title: Christmas in His Heart
Author Name: Havan Fellows & Lee Brazil
Publication Date & Length: December 4, 2014 – 119pgs

Synopsis

Christmastime brings joy to hearts everywhere. Between snow angels, festive clothing, holiday decorations, and of course, all the beautiful lights, it’s hard not to partake in the season.

Unless you no longer have Christmas in your heart.

Dermot Alasdair has never shared the horrific memories that keep him from celebrating the happiest time of the year, nor does he ever plan to. He’s fine being alone and shut off from everyone; he has his restaurant and that’s all he needs. He believes that, too…until the craft store next door from his eatery hires a perpetually smiling annoyance. Really, it isn’t normal for someone to be that happy all the time.

Xander Leahman didn’t know what he was getting into when he accepted an invitation to visit his best friend and help her interview people for the newly created position of manager at Craft Time. When a surly man bumps into him and then walks away with an enticing sway to his hips, Xander decides the position—and Dermot—are perfect for him. Now all he can think of is finding ways to get Dermot out of his clothes. Well that, and how to open this grinch’s heart to the Christmas season and, hopefully, love.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

This is delightful, charming, and sweet, and it’s sexy holiday fun. I admit to being a sucker for holiday romance, so this was a nice treat.

I loved Dermot right away, despite his gruff exterior. I’ll admit, I was kind of on his side about Xander, who would have irritated me no end with his excessive chipperness. They were a perfect odd couple, but I didn’t feel like their differences were overblown.

The one thing I would have liked to see was more of what made Xander who he was. We got to know Dermot’s story about his heartbreaking Christmases past and his partly self-imposed loneliness, but we never really found out what made Xander tick. I suspect there’s a story hidden in there somewhere.

That aside, this was enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone who wants a little Christmas cheer (especially if they want it in the form of two hot guys making a little magic together).

4.5 stars

Amy

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Excerpt

“Hey! Good morning!”

The cheerful greeting broke through his concentration, and Dermot looked up to see the new manager of the Craft Time craft store sweeping the sidewalk in front of the shop. “Hey,” he muttered sourly. Xander Leahman made his head ache. Just one glance and he wanted to snap at the man to comb his hair, put on a heavier jacket, and for Christ sakes why wasn’t he wearing gloves outside in this weather?

Dermot wasn’t going to stop. He had no plans stop and talk to the smiling man. Xander bubbled more than a bottle of shaken soda water. Dermot didn’t have time for his chatter, and he didn’t have time for the strange, compelling not-quite-nausea he seemed prone to in Xander’s company.

Maybe he was allergic to the man’s cologne, or deodorant, or shampoo. Dermot leaned forward and sniffed surreptitiously, but he couldn’t smell anything other than cinnamon and vanilla. An overwhelming urge to bake overcame him, and he jerked himself upright.

He was an executive chef, not a pastry chef. He didn’t bake, and especially not something as…plebeian as oatmeal raisin cookies, which was what Xander smelled like.

“Excuse me.” He deliberately stepped around Xander, who put out a hand and caught his arm.

“I saw you coming down the street.” Xander set the broom aside and picked up a steaming mug from the windowsill. “It’s not as good as Prudence’s coffee, but I made it fresh this morning.”

Blinking in astonishment, Dermot stared from the mug to the hand on his arm. He could really… “Thanks.” He accepted the mug and inhaled the rich aroma of good coffee, scented with cinnamon and…yeah, vanilla. And he’d thought it was Xander who smelled so good? He didn’t know whether to be relieved or embarrassed. “I needed this. That walk feels longer every day that the temperature drops.” The first sip exploded on his tongue with soothing heat and delicious flavor and he bit back a moan of appreciation.

AuthorBio

LEE BRAZIL:

Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true.

Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.

Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?

Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.

 

HAVAN FELLOWS:

I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.

Okay no, seriously…I’m a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own. And just like every other red-blooded human—I love hearing from people. So feel free to drop me a line—whether it’s a comment on my blog, an email, a tweet, or you track me down on FaceBook or Google +…it’s easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.

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Lee Brazil’s Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/crawlinbedwithlee/

Lee Brazil on Twitter: @LeeBrazil

Havan Fellows on Twitter: @Havanfellows

Lee Brazil on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/leebrazil/

Havan Fellows on PInterest: http://www.pinterest.com/havanfellows/

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4.5 Stars Humingbird House by Kenzie Cade – #MM #Romance #Holiday #Giveaway #AuthorInterview

HummingbirdHouseMD

Title: Hummingbird House
Author Name: Kenzie Cade
Publication Date & Length: December 1, 2014 – 51 pgs

Synopsis

To honor his grandmother’s final request, Trenton Appleton drops everything to visit the family’s ancestral home: Hummingbird House, where he experienced his first kiss and first heartbreak with Callum Eason.

Eight years ago, confused by his attraction to Trent, Callum reacted badly. But with help he never expected, Callum found himself and learned to accept who he was.

Now Trent is back at Hummingbird House, and Callum has his opportunity to salvage their friendship, at least. But Trent is less receptive than he was all those years ago. Still, Callum is determined to show Trent he has changed and keep his promise to Trent’s grandmother. When past mistakes repeat themselves, Callum must break the cycle before his last chance with Trent passes him by.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

This short work was a lovely, sweet read, and I was able to finish it in an afternoon. I really enjoyed it.
I like reading stories about realistic, relatable experiences–in this case, loss and grief. I think this is great because it shows that regardless of who the people in the story are, we can all connect with losing a loved one or making poor choices in our youth. Ms. Cade reflected the core humanity of the characters very well.
I also liked that this wasn’t a “magically rescue you from your grief” kind of story. Trent goes into his trip believing he’s alone, but he’s reminded that other people share his loss and care about him. That he also finds romantic love is just a bonus, and I felt this was drawn very well.
The one thing I wasn’t fond of was the way the point of view switched from first to third person, depending on whose perspective we were seeing. I think this is personal preference, though, and not a flaw with the writing. It’s the sort of thing that would probably not bother other readers, and some will even like it better.
Other than that, this was a good read and I definitely want to read more from Ms. Cade.
4.5 stars
Amy

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AuthorInterview

1. What interested you about writing a holiday story?
I am addicted to holiday tales–short, lengthy, and all those in between. There’s something about the cold weather and holiday time in general that brings people closer. I like the thought of curling up by the fire with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate, which I do regularly in the winter. We look for warmth in the most common and sometimes uncommon of places. The first place I turn to is a book. Holiday stories especially romances are full of love and warmth that leave me with with a happy smile when I’m finished reading. That was my hope in writing a holiday focused story.

2. What inspired you to write this story?

Hummingbird House is a bit personal to me. There are pieces of me and my life all throughout the story. To date it was one of the most difficult for me to write. When the call came out for Celebrate! I thought long and hard about where I wanted to go with my holiday story because I had no doubt I wanted to write one. I first started off with Trent on his way to Greece after a break up but the joining of he and his counterpart was all wrong, and then I went to visit my grandmother. She is my Astrid. My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007 and we’ve walked a difficult road with her for a long, long time. The less she remembers, the more I find myself wanting to write something down to cement the beautiful, strong, perfect woman she once was. Then there’s Trent. Luckily, I’m not alone in taking care of my grandmother, but a lot of who Trent is and his experiences with Astrid and her memories come from actual conversations with my grandmother. Like I said it was a difficult story to come by, but in the end it is the most rewarding I’ve written so far.

3. What interested you in writing gay fiction?

Oh gosh. I’ve been reading m/m for four years, almost five, now and playing at writing for about two and a half. I’ve been writing on and off for a lot longer, but nothing worth mentioning. I’ve had several ideas for a long time and haven’t had the knowledge as to how to organize them, but I was gifted with a great friend who mentored me and has pretty much encouraged and guided me through everything I’ve done so far. I’m pretty lucky. When it comes to m/m… well, I love the genre. In all things, love is love and it’s my goal, not matter how small or large, to make that message known through my writing, through word of mouth, and by my actions.

4. Is there a special significance to the house? someplace in your own life that it represents or is similar to?

Hummingbird House is significant to Trent in that it’s the one place that feels most like home to him. Astrid was his grandmother, the only mother figure in his life, and his best friend for as long as he could remember. Hummingbird House was the home of her heart and whether Trent wanted to accept it or not, the house was the home of his heart as well. It was also the place where he met Callum for the first time, the place where he shared that first fateful kiss with Callum. There is a lot of significance to Hummingbird House. I think most of all, though, it’s where Trent finds who he is and what he wants.
As for having a place similar in my own life. There is one. I haven’t been in a while and now that I think about it, maybe I’ll write a story set there one day. I have a couple friends who have a family home in Bear Lake, Idaho and while I lived in Utah we spent a few weeks out of the summer and winter at the cabin. It was an amazing place. The history in the walls was apparent. There was such a quiet reverence about it. So yes, I guess, there is a place in my life sort of similar, albeit not exact. Mind you, this is every much after the fact and Hummingbird House is in no way based off of my friends’ family’s cabin.

AuthorBio

Kenzie Cade was born and raised in the South where she spends her days in the sometimes stressful field of private medicine observing interesting people and committing them to memory for later use. When she isn’t reading, experimenting with recipes, or being distracted by social media, Kenzie spends time with her family, friends, and the Pomeranian/long-haired Chihuahua mix who likes to keep her company while she writes. As a young girl, Kenzie dreamed of princesses and their white knights. As an adult (or sort of adult), she dreams of princes and their proverbial white knights, which she attributes to fellow Arkansan S.E. Hinton and her novel The Outsiders. Writing to keep the fictional voices at bay, Kenzie enjoys the journeys her characters travel to find their happy endings, and she loves the challenge of writing a great love story.

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