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review 2017-01-04 18:04
Book Review: Rejoice, Dammit by Kaje Harper
Rejoice, Dammit - Kaje Harper

Absolutely gorgeous writing for an absolutely wonderful story about second chances at love, family, and living again, with fantastic characters and a very nice plot. Loved it.

 

This was my own copy that I purchased for myself. 5 happy, Christmasy stars!

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review 2016-12-24 00:40
ARC Review: Popcorn Garlands (Bah Humbug Dreamspinner Advent Calendar) by Ariel Tachna
Popcorn Garlands (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug) - Ariel Tachna

This short story from the 2016 Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar serves as a reminder that even when things appear bleak, there are still good people out there, who will lend a helping hand. And really, that's what the Holidays are all about, right?

Carlos Mendez owns a landscaping business and sends every extra penny he earns to his family in Mexico. He has a good crew, and he takes care of them as best as he can, which is evident when he spends a day visiting them all to give them their Christmas bonus. His men all like him a lot, which is also evident when they all step in to... well, you should read this for yourself.

Carlos is fed up with the greed and consumerism he sees all around him, noticing how most people spend and spend but care nothing for their fellow humans.

Ned Williams lives in the same apartment building as Carlos, with his daughter who has cancer. He is at wit's end, and at the end of their means, and he doesn't quite know how he'll manage to give his daughter what may be her last Christmas.

A popcorn garland Ned has made with his daughter for decoration bring Carlos to their door. And then the true meaning of Christmas visits them both.

While we don't really see the two men interact a whole lot, and while there are but romantic undertones instead of an actual romance (which makes this book feel to some extent like a prequel, like the author is planning a whole book for them, and is whetting our appetite with this short novella), the characters feel realistic enough. I would like to know more about them, for sure.

What I loved most about this novella is that it conveys the true meaning of Christmas - helping your fellow man, rallying around those who are in need, and celebrating love, friendship, and family.

A sweet, somewhat fluffy story, one with which to curl up by the fire, with a blanket and your favorite hot beverage.

Nicely done.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2016-12-21 14:30
ARC Review: Mele Kalikimaka (Bah Humbug Advent Calendar 2016) by B.G. Thomas and Noah Willoughby
Mele Kalikimaka (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug) - B.G. Thomas,Noah Willoughby

Poor little rich boy Chandler Buckingham, of the Kansas City Buckinghams, is fed up with Mommy Dearest trying to push him into a hetero relationship and appearing (with a suitable date) at the upcoming Christmas Gala/Fundraiser his family organizes every year.

It's just all too much for Chandler, and since he can't seem to find the backbone to stand up to Mommy Dearest, he does the next best (oh so mature) thing - running off to Hawai'i with the help of his PA/best friend since college.

And so Chandler finds himself in a little hovel of an apartment in Maui, which is mostly unfurnished and completely beneath his standards, without a car, without a lot of dough, and without any towels or other household goods.

Fortunately for Chandler, Micah Keolu lives in the apartment across the hall and also serves as part of the maintenance crew at the place, which is helpful when Chandler gets stuck in the elevator upon arrival.

The two men have an immediate spark, and their relationship progresses rather quickly considering the time frame this novella covers, however, they were well suited to each other, and I believed their attraction. Micah acts as a calming influence on the somewhat neurotic Chandler, without any inkling as to the true identity of the guy, and Chandler awakens in Micah a desire to perhaps see more of the world and leave Hawai'i for a little while. Also, steamy bedroom exploits - good stuff!

Chandler, who for a while there goes by Buck, because, you know, he's hiding from Mommy, initially came across as a snobbish, whiny, spoiled, and petulant man-child, sounding younger than his 30 years. As the story progresses, his sense of entitlement is slowly torn away, and the end result is a much more mature version who deserved being with Micah.

I loved Micah, who patiently deals with Chandler's odd behavior, invites him to his family's Christmas celebration and shows Chandler that money isn't everything, and that there are nice people who don't care how much or how little money you have. People who don't judge you by what you can do for them, but make you part of their circle just because.

Of course, this being a romantic love story, we do get the HEA that Micah definitely and Chandler mostly deserved. Including Chandler deftly maneuvering around his mother's plans, because he found his backbone.

Ben's writing style meshed with Noah's for the most part, though it was pretty clear which parts were written by Ben, as his unique style bled through on more than one occasion. I would have liked to see more of this story from Micah's perspective, to be honest, as I liked his character better. The writing is also very descriptive, which worked here very well, and really drew images in my head of the beauty of Hawai'i as the two men explore the island and have fun together.

This was definitely an enjoyable short story with a bit of a lesson for one of the MCs, and a lovely HEA in which Chandler finally takes control of his life. Nicely done.


** I received a free copy of this book from Ben, one of the authors. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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text 2016-12-02 02:12
November wrap-up +TBR
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo
Let it Snow - Lauren Myracle,John Green,Maureen Johnson
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Rainbow Rowell,Holly Black,Myra McEntire,Kiersten White,Stephanie Perkins,Laini Taylor,Gayle Forman,Matt de la Pena,Jenny Han,Ally Carter,Kelly Link,David Levithan

I read one book this month

Shadow and bone 4/5

My tbr is two christmas books

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review 2016-12-01 13:57
ARC Review: Analog To Digital by Posy Roberts
Analog to Digital (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug) - Posy Roberts

Cute and sweet short about an established couple, Toby and Ethan, who are keeping secrets from each other. Which, as we all know, is never a good thing in a relationship, amirite?

 

Ethan's secret is that despite his assertions of the opposite, after many years in love with Toby, he wants to marry the man. Toby, however, has said many, many, many times that he has no desire to get married. At all. Ever.

 

Ethan's sister got married in a whirlwind ceremony, and now wants to renew her vows with a lavish wedding ceremony. This makes Ethan sad and upset - his sister will have two weddings in less than a year, while he won't have any, because the man he loves doesn't want to marry him at all.

 

While they're in Minnesota with Ethan's family for Christmas, Ethan starts to have doubts as he watches Toby spend time with his sister and his mother, and basically feels ignored. He promised not to work so much while they're on holiday, but with Toby gone from the house, Ethan doesn't feel like he has much else to do.

 

There are plenty of hints between the lines as to what Toby might be up to, and this reader figured it out early on, but Ethan is oblivious.

 

I liked their relationship, and it was clear that they truly loved each other. The author drew her characters very nicely, and while this short was but a glimpse, we got sufficient backstory woven seamlessly into the plot to understand where both of these men were coming from.

 

Ethan's family was well done too, and they enhanced this story quite a bit.

 

I'm sure you're wondering what Toby's secret is, right? Well, I'm not telling, so you should hop on over to the Dreamspinner site to buy this little book so you can find out.

 

It's worth it.

 

 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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