Nell Iris' Christmas

Advent calendar: day 17


Behind door number 17 of my advent calendar, we find Revelry by K.L. Noone.

Sometimes when you read a blurb, you get a good feeling and just know you’re going to love that book. Sometimes, that feeling turns out to be false. But sometimes, it turns out to be exactly right. And that was the case for Revelry. It was the phrase “research on obscure ancient Roman holiday traditions” in the blurb that caught my eye, and the book fulfilled on that promise.

It’s like this book was written with me in mind. The characters are awesome: Stephen is nerdy and scholarly and Brian is fabulous and glittery, just the kind of MCs I love. I took Latin in high-school and love everything Roman. And anyone who mentions the Roman poet Catullus—my favorite poet!—gets a gold-star in my book. (“Catullus once wrote about a friend gifting him a book of poems by the worst poet who ever lived, and he was thoroughly delighted”)  There are mentions of Shakespeare (I named my daughter Ofelia, do I need to say more?) and then Ms. Noone tops it all off by throwing in a mention of the favorite band of my teenage years that I’m still very fond of (“Unless you somehow refuse to appreciate Duran Duran, who are indisputable musical geniuses.”) and I’m floored.

K.L. Noone’s use of language is magical and makes my heart flutter with happiness. “This was himself making Brian happy as well, he understood; and that understanding snagged his next breath and stole it away, like the shooting star returning, like a lifeline flung out that’d unexpectedly caught the sun.” I mean…*swoon*

And on top of that it was super cute and I giggled my way through it.

This was the first book I read by this author, but it definitely won’t be the last. Now if you excuse me, I have books to buy!



Stephen Hunt’s having a terrible holiday season. It’s mid-December, and he’s about as far from the familiar scholarly walls of his Oxford professor’s office as he can get — Southern California, in fact, for an academic conference. Back home, his ex-boyfriend’s moved out, and Stephen’s alone and miserable in the hotel bar with his research on obscure ancient Roman holiday traditions. The bartender’s adorable, though, so at least that’s a good distraction from his thoughts.

Brian Dwyer’s a very good bartender. Good at making drinks and having holiday spirit, good at talking to customers, good at making people smile. He’s decided that the gorgeous but unhappy professor at the end of the bar definitely needs to smile. And once Stephen opens up and starts talking to him, Brian just might be in love with historical trivia, knowledge and passion, and those soft brown eyes. And if the night’s one of those decadent ancient holidays that Stephen knows so much about, even better — they’ll just have to find a way to celebrate together.

Buy link: Amazon | JMS Books

Today’s quote from the book:

(This is another book I just can’t pick one quote from. Also, I totally cheated, because I sprinkled quotes in the opening text, too, so there’s that! 🙂 )

Stephen swallowed. Hard. Not only because of the clinging denim and sequins. Because Brian had done all this, had thrown the whole gesture together, for him. And was standing in his doorway wearing Dolphin Princess accessories, unabashed and happy.


“I told you about classical Roman holidays and you tried to give me one. I want you.”


“Look at me.”
“Do I have to?”
“I’m wearing your tiara. Because…because you gave it to me. Sigillaria and gifts. The whole Saturnalia festival and inversions. Being king for a day. Or a Dolphin Princess. It’s a royal decree. So yes.”

Today’s song to go with the story

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters because Sigillaria (the Roman holiday referred to in the blurb) is about giving silly gifts, and if you ask me “twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree” are a lot of very silly gifts. (What am I going to do with all that shit? I prefer a Dolphin Princess tiara over eight maids a-milking any day!) 😀

8 thoughts on “Advent calendar: day 17”

      1. I know. It’s not that the grass grew, though. It’s leaf mulching. And entirely my effing neighbor’s fault, since they can’t spare one &$#*@ day mowing/mulching theirs so it’s not continually blowing into my yard and driveway all effing winter long! I couldn’t use the snowblower on 1/3 of my driveway the last storm despite the monumental blowing/mulching effort I put in the day before the storm, because the first thing that storm did was blow a huge fresh drift of their leaves onto my driveway. And now their sweetgum tree is starting to drop its &$#*@ spiky balls, and even though I bought a special piece of equipment just to pick those effers up, it’s less efficient than it would be if there wasn’t so much leaf debris constantly blowing onto them.

        Liked by 1 person

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