Today I treat you to three reveiws instead of one, and all of the stories are from this year’s Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar. I’ve looked forward to reading some of the other stories since I first read their blurbs, and I share three of them with you here today.
Being accepted to the advent calendar was unexpected and a happy event and I want to celebrate it by honoring some of my writer colleagues. Let’s get to it, shall we? 🙂
Two men. One Christmas Eve that changes the courses of both their lives.
Henry’s homeless and only wants a warm place to sleep on the coldest night of the year. A forgotten open window in a darkened house entices Henry inside with the promise of warmth and comfort. He knows it’s wrong, but he promises himself he’ll be out before the owner wakes on Christmas morning. Except he oversleeps and the homeowner, Jim, discovers a bearded stranger sawing logs under his dining room table. When the shock and the drama that ensues dies down, Henry and Jim discover that they might have found, quite unexpectedly, the Christmas miracle they’d both been longing for—love and home
This was a very short story, only twenty-one pages, but it’s still jam-packed with feelings. We’re treated to two scenes from Henry and Jim’s lives: one in the present where they are an established couple and one from the past when they first met.
The love between the men in the scenes taking place in the present leaps off the page and curls itself around my heart, making me feel really great. I love the story of how they met, even if it might be necessary to suspend disbelief to believe it. But that’s why we read in the first place, isn’t it? To get away from the bleak reality even for a short time, and I’m all aboard with that idea.
I really would have loved seeing how the two men fell in love, so I—the lover of short stories—think it’s a little on the short side. But I love Rick R. Reed’s use of language and the emotions he conveys, so I still give it five solid Christmas trees.
Scott Burke has always desired a big family, but as a divorced single dad, all he has is his young daughter, Lexi. He pours himself into raising her, half-convinced he’ll never find what he’s looking for. When Brennan Price strolls into Scott’s life, he’d better have enough patience for both Lexi and Scott if he intends to stick around.
Brennan has a huge family and a successful career, but no one to call his own. Wooing Scott and his daughter is right up his alley, though, and he steps up to the challenge to prove he’s enough for both of them. His attraction to Scott is immediate, but he recognizes a family man when he sees one and hatches a plan to win Lexi over. Her handsome father is sure to follow…
This is thirty-two pages of awwww-inducing sweetness and that’s just the way I love my holiday stories. It’s two men, a little girl, and a dog in reindeer antlers. It’s insta-love (which I personally love), wintery goodness, hot chocolate, and dirty talk…and seriously: What more do you need? It’s perfect for getting you in a Christmas mood: curl up on the couch with a hot beverage of your choice, light the fire (if you have one), and let yourself be transported to the land where it’s possible for two men to meet and fall in love over the course of a couple days.
It was the first book I ever read by Tami Veldura, but it won’t be the last. Loved it.
Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….
On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.
Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it.
This was my favorite of the three books in today’s review. I’ve been a fan of Kris T. Bethke since the first book I read by her (which was Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds which I read only because of the fabulous title and definitely didn’t regret it!) I love her writing style and her characters and she delivered on both counts in this story.
I love second chance stories and when stories are infused with tiny glimpses of unexplained magic. This isn’t a paranormal story. It’s a contemporary story with a twist and I loved how the pocketwatch “interfered” in just the right times. Both characters were great and I really loved that they both still feel the attraction even after all the years that passed since they were together.
My favorite character probably was Apollo the Parrot though. Read it and you’ll understand why.
Also: extra kudos for writing a bi character without making a big deal about it. As a bi person myself, I appreciate it a lot 🙂
To sum it up: they were all great stories that got me in a holiday mood and made me want to read more from all three authors. Isn’t that the best praise you can give a writer? “I want to read more of your stories.” It would be for me at least 🙂