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review 2017-12-17 20:58
Sometimes, it's the things we don't expect, that turn out to be what we want...
In Case of Emergency: Gay Christmas Romance - Keira Andrews

Daniel and Cole first met 10 years ago as stepbrothers when they're parents had a passing thought to get married...the thought passed and took the marriage with it just as quickly. But Daniel's mother has reconnected with Cole, so when she learns that Cole's going to be in the same city as Daniel working on his thesis, well of course she insist that Cole use Daniel as his emergency contact and having no other friends or family Cole figures why not what's it going to hurt...after all no one every uses their emergency contact anyways, right? Well, until things happen and in Cole's case it's a trip on some stairs that lands him in the emergency room and has the university calling Daniel...his emergency contact...Daniel who's about to head out of town for a romantic holiday vacation with Justin his sorta'...kinda'...almost boyfriend.

 

So what's a man to do when he's left to care for his one time almost stepbrother who's got a broken wrist and a mild concussion and he's scheduled to go frolic in the snow with is almost boyfriend? Why take the almost stepbrother with him of course and this is where the fun begins.

 

It took a bit but I ended up liking Daniel. Initially Daniel was to say the least cold, standoffish and a bit of a jerk about Cole needing his help. While spending the holiday with Daniel is Cole's idea of a holiday in heaven he's also a really decent guy and he tries to convince Daniel to just leave him at home and he'd be fine. But once Daniel sets him mind to something he moves forward and doesn't change his mind. 

 

Once they arrive at the cabin, Daniel discovers in very short order that Justin not only isn't boyfriend material because really how wanted does one feel when the person they're planning on spending a romantic weekend with arrives at their romantic destination with with their own party...nope, Justin showed in real short order that he's someone who's just not even worth knowing. So in true Daniel fashion he makes the decision that things between him and Justin are over  before they really started...me likey this.

 

Finding themselves alone for the holidays the two men start to reconnect and Daniel soon realizes that even though Justin's gone his chance for romance and finding someone to love again is still there in the cabin with him.

 

I liked the epilogue. It was nice to get that peek ahead in time and see that what started when Daniel and Cole are reunited by an accident ended up as something real, solid and very intentional as these two men came together to make a life as a couple.

 

'In Case of Emergency' is a sweet, holiday romance with second chances a touch of hurt/comfort, sexy hot tub times, a bit of Star Wars and one of my favorite parts...no, there are no dragons, but Daniel and Cole are living and loving in CANADA!!!

 

Cole's attending Carlton University...that's my hubby's alma mater. Daniel attended Western (also known as UWO or the University of Western Ontario, it's in London a couple of hours from Toronto). Anyways, my point is that the setting for this one on a personal level just added to how much I enjoyed the story. Yeah, I'm a dork. I get a little bit excited when I read stories that are set in Canada but when it's a story with so many references that are familiar to me...well, it just makes it so easy for me to settle into the story and enjoy, which is exactly what I did.

 

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A copy of 'In Case of Emergency' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-12-17 02:42
It's what's on the inside that really counts...
On the Third Kiss - George Loveland

As Donna Tracey, Drag Queen extraordinaire Sebastian Bennett works hard and he’s looking forward to a well deserved vacation with his boyfriend and the love of his life Elliot Bolton in the Gran Canarian or at least he thought he was until he came home to find Buster his chihuahua alone with nothing but a note telling him that Elliot needed a break and was going on their vacation with someone else…which this is bad enough right? But no Elliot didn’t stop there. Needless to say, Sebastian is devastated…hell, I was devastated with him.

 

Feeling like his world is crumbling Sebastian turns to the one person he can rely on pub manager and friend, Javier Reyes-Martinez. Javier doesn’t hesitate to step-up offering Sebastian support, friendship, a shoulder to lean on…whatever he needs.

 

When Christmas day rolls around and Sebastian decides that if he’s not going to be in the Gran Canarian that he might as well go home to his family he doesn’t hesitate to take Javier with him and it’s in the midst of a broken heart and being with his family who mean the world to him that Sebastian begins to realize that maybe Javier could be more than a friend…maybe, he’s what Sebastian really needs in his life.

 

I loved how things played out between Sebastian and Javier. Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that Seb was slow on the uptake but it did take his mother, his sister, his uncle with dementia…no seriously Seb’s uncle had some surprising moments of lucidness and imparted so pretty good words of wisdom and then there was Buster…that was one seriously smart chihauhau with really good taste in men and there might have been a few other people dropping hints before darling Seb finally got a clue but in his defence…douchebag boyfriend…screwed him over…so he might not have been seeing things as clearly as he should have.

 

On the flip side Javier may have known how he felt about Seb but he also cared about him enough not to push. He knew that Seb was a bit of an emotional wreck and he wanted to give him some time and space.

 

‘On the Third Kiss’ was a sweet holiday, friends to lovers story by a new to me author, whom I’m looking forward to reading more from in the future.

 

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An ARC of ‘On the Third Kiss’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-12-14 16:22
The cover totally matches the story on this one both were adorably cute and just so much fun...
Love Happens Anyway - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Derek feels like his life is spinning out of control. He’s feeling like the job he has is neither the job he was supposed to get or the one he wanted, he’s at odds with his parents and feels like they’re constantly trying to marry him off. If he could just catch a break, put a little distance between him and the rest of the world.

 

Derek finds his buffer in the form of Luke…a former fireman who’s in need of twenty thousand dollars to finish paying or the renovations to on Halligans, his family’s bar in NY’s Financial District. So, when Luke’s friend asks him for a favor…a favor that will bring in Luke’s much needed money. Luke finds himself reluctantly agreeing to be Derek’s pretend boyfriend for the holidays…4 dates that’s all he needs to get through and then he’ll have the money he needs…what could possibly go wrong with just 4 dates?

 

What neither Derek or Luke is prepared for is that things would go right…so much righter than either man is prepared for as they find that not only is there a definite attraction between them but as they get to know each other they’re also finding that they like each other.

 

I admit I was fairly certain that I was going to enjoy this one before I even opened the book…the author’s R.J. Scott and for me that pretty well makes it a done deal. For me Luke was the perfect person for Derek. He saw past Derek’s exterior with his pretense of confidence in an effort to cover his insecurities. Luke saw a talented man that he knew he could both like and respect. For Derek, Luke was his dream man come to life.

 

One of the things about this story that really capture my attention was the relationship dynamics between Derek and his parents. So often in stories the relationship between adult children and their parents are portrayed as either being good or not good but for Derek and his parents that’s not the case. Derek loves his parents and they love him and are supportive of him, but Derek doesn’t see it this way and that’s largely due to a communication issue or more accurately a case of miscommunication. Which for Derek is a more common event in his life than it needs to be because of the defensive barrier he’s built around himself.

 

Luke’s efforts to get past Derek and his façade of confidence has a trickle-down effect on Derek’s life allowing him to re-evaluate his interactions not just with Luke but a lot of the other people in his life…colleagues, friends and his parents.

For me the fake-boyfriend to boyfriend premise of this story was well done. It was sweet, and not only did we get to see the relationship develop between these two, but we got to find out a bit more about each of them, their past, their present and what they wanted for their future.

 

‘Love Happens Anyway’ is an enchanting holiday story and while a lot of the issues stem from miscommunication it’s not intentional or surrounded by any over the top angst or drama and the icing on the Christmas cake for me in all of this was the ending…I loved the ending. It was sweet and filled with the joy of the holidays…definitely recommended for anyone wanting a sweet holiday story filled with fun, cheer and two sexy men who make the holiday just that much brighter.

 

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An ARC of ‘Love Happens Anyway’ was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-12-08 19:21
He's making a list...checking it twice...
Secret Santa - Jay Northcote

Theo’s a single dad who really doesn’t have time for relationships between sharing parenting duties with his son’s mom and working as any parent especially any single parent knows there isn’t a lot of time left in the day…mind you that doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t like a relationship, but Theo’s not a hook-up kind of guy and it’s hard to find someone who wants a relationship when you’ve got a 4 year old, so when he starts chatting on-line with a guy named Luke putting it out there that he’s a dad logically doesn’t seem like it should be the first things he tells Luke about himself. Not that he’s not going to tell him but maybe he could just give them a little time for Luke to find out some other stuff about him first.

 

This would all work well if Luke wasn’t working as Santa at the local shopping mall…the mall where Theo takes his adorable son to see Santa and this is where things get awkward. Theo’s got a secret and Luke knows but Theo doesn’t know that Luke knows and Luke really likes Theo so he’s sure that if they can just get through the holiday everything will sort itself out and maybe Theo never needs to know that Luke accidentally found out his secret…awkward moments so many awkward moments and I loved them all.

 

I’m not normally a fan of miscommunication type stories but this one was definitely an exception. Theo and Luke are so new to each other and each of them end up having a secret but there’s no malice or bad intent as to why they each have a secret and much of their awkwardness came from this. The awkwardness between them both in person and when they were texting while at times it had me rolling my eyes in it’s own way it also felt natural…Theo and Luke have just met, they’re getting to know each other and because they’re each keeping their own secret at times they’ve put themselves in a position where they’re not sure how interpret what the other person is saying.

 

I remember back in the day when I was first dating my husband having a phone conversation or two like this where one of us wasn’t quite sure what the other was really trying to say or not say and sometimes things got stilted and awkward and not because one or both of us wasn’t interested no it was more a case of that like Theo and Luke, we were interested and found ourselves being very cautious because things were new and we really liked each other and wanted to be care not to say something that would scare the other person away before we had a chance. So maybe the reasons were different but at times our behavior was for me really reminiscent of how Theo and Luke were at times.

 

Don’t get me wrong this was not an over the top, angst ridden story. Theo and Luke trying and chatting…so maybe some stilted and awkward conversations but the end result was awkward or not they led to more communication and honesty.

 

‘Secret Santa’ is a sweet, low angst story about two ordinary guys who unknowingly have the same Christmas wish. A wish just needs an open, honest conversation and a little bit of Christmas magic to come true. A lovely story to warm the heart on a cold winters day.

 

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An ARC of 'Secret Santa' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-11-27 03:07
It's the holidays so of course there's...
Yours For The Holiday - D.J. Jamison

angst and drama galore!!!

 

Remy's fresh off a break-up with his boyfriend and getting passed over for a promotion at his job. Feeling more than a little hurt and insecure he's hoping to spend a quiet holiday with his family nursing his broken heart and wounded pride.

 

Derek is Remy's brother and he's bringing a girl home for the first time ever to meet his family which includes his best friend and Remy's first crush...Jason...straight, sexy fireman Jason. The man that Remy loves to hate and who seems to share his feelings.

 

Now add in the fact that Jason's family is the poster family for 'dysfunctional' that's right he's got a sister who died when he was four years old. His parents are still mourning her...dad's a workaholic and mom's an alcoholic. 

 

Oh and let's not forget about Remy's ex because trust me his roll in all this is not done.

 

Drama folks...there is so much drama and yet for me it worked...as I said to my other half when I finished reading the story...It's like spending the holiday with my family.

 

Ironically in spite of or maybe because of all the drama I enjoyed this one. There was a lot of good and interesting stuff going on here and it works. Remy and Derek's parents are awesome. They're loving and supportive of their kids and for them that includes Jason. But they're also realistic and believable as parents. I really liked Remy and Jason with all their flaws and insecurities. I loved that while both of them seemed to feel like they were walking in thin ice they still kept trying. The conversations between these two whether in person or done via text messages were humorous, sexy and just generally entertaining.

 

I didn't mind all the angst and drama in this one...honestly it's the holidays and having grown up in a large family I can honestly say a spike in family drama during the holidays is not an impossibility by any means but I had a bit of an issue with Derek. Sorry but as a BF...Derek was a fail in my books. He grew up with Jason and he was way to willing to believe the the worst about someone who was suppose to be his friend...no, just no. You don't believe that kind of stuff without even giving your best friend a chance and especially based on what Derek knew. For me as a friend Derek was a fail, but sadly I think Derek also had baggage of his own to deal with.

 

While I don't want a lot of drama and angst in my reading...occasionally it works and for the most part this was one of those occasions.I liked Remy and Jason and watching them as they went basically from enemies, or frenimies at the very least, to lovers was a fun and festive journey worth taking to see these two men reach their destination.

 

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An ARC of 'Yours For The Holiday' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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