A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: In Case Of Emergency by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Daniel Diaz is one of those characters who is so uptight he gives new meaning to the words “undies in a twist.”  Always reliable, steadfast, ambitious, he’s a twenty-eight-year-old HR Director who’s very dependable.  He’s so dependable, in fact, that he checks his work emails twenty-four-seven and can’t let loose.  Until his bestie convinces him to attend CYC—change your cadence—a class intended to shake up his predictable life.  So, contrary to his usual holiday schedule, this year he has booked a condo with a guy from the office who might just be the one to help him let loose.

He’s looking forward to snow, hot tubs, and a week of sex, but unfortunately, just before he leaves he receives a call from the local ER informing him that his “brother” has had an accident and Daniel is listed as next of kin.  Though he doesn’t actually have a brother, after a quick call to his mother, he figures out that this must be Cole, the young kid who was his step-brother for a few months during his mother’s whirlwind marriage to Cole’s father.  When the whirlwind divorce happened, Daniel’s mother kept in touch with Cole and convinced him to list Daniel as emergency contact when he moved to Daniel’s town last year to finish his master’s degree. 

Of course, this interferes with his planned vacation, so Daniel just sends his office lover to the chalet on his own while he takes care of Cole.  Long story short, Cole and his concussion accompany Daniel on his vacation—after all, what choice does a by-the-book guy like Daniel have? But the surprise is on Daniel when he arrives to find that Justin, his office twink—errr potential lover—has invited half the office to share the chalet.  Oops! Bad move on Justin’s part.  And that begins the twenty-four hours of crazy that is Justin and the gang who happen to get snowed in with them until the next day.  Poor Daniel. And poor Cole with his headache. 

I really enjoyed the story—mostly after Justin left, I must admit.   I loved the author’s writing style, the interesting concept of former stepbrothers. Of course, Cole held a long-time torch for Daniel, having had a crush since they met when he was thirteen.  Cole is definitely a more lovable, friendly, outgoing character than Daniel, who remains stiff and reserved for quite a while. And yet I liked Daniel, even though he was pretty misguided.  For Daniel, the more work he did, the better his self-esteem.  I know a lot of people like that.  In fact, I used to be one of them.  I was happy to see, however, that he didn’t remain that way through the whole story and I enjoyed the discovery of their love for each other. 

Yes, it was pretty much insta-love, no matter that Cole had that long-term crush going on. This line in the blurb sums the story up beautifully: “This fluffy gay Christmas romance from Keira Andrews features former stepbrothers reconnecting as adults, sexy hot-tub shenanigans, cuddling by the fire, and of course a happy ending.” So, in the spirit of the holiday season, and of the light, fluffy holiday romance this is intended to be, I’m going for 4.5 stars.  This story made me feel good and provided a few hours of enjoyable reading that hit my warm and fuzzy spot, so I’m recommending it to all who enjoy holiday romances, reunited friends to lovers, love at first (or second) sight, and those who like to see those cold-hearted workaholics turn into mushy romantic fools for the right man. 

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The cover by Dar Albert of Wicked Smart Designs features two very attractive men one shirtless, one in a T-shirt, in front of a fireplace and Christmas tree.  It captures the spirit of the holiday very nicely.    

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 120 pages
Published November 30th 2017 by KA Books (first published November 2017)
ISBN139781988260266
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Advent Release Day Review: An Unexpected Sanctuary (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Cassie Decker

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
An aggressive super-flu pandemic wipes out a majority of the population over the course of one Christmas holiday—and brings Tobin and Kyle together. For almost a year, they’ve been trekking across the country from Colorado toward a sanctuary in upstate New York. Kyle’s survival skills have kept them alive, and Tobin wants to repay the man he loves with a very special gift of his own making. He sneaks off in search of the last few pieces… only to get himself and Kyle kidnapped by a desperate stranger. With their journey to New York on hold—possibly indefinitely—they’ll need to accept that home isn’t always defined by a place as much as the person you’re with. 
This was one of my favorite stories in the Dreamspinner Advent anthology this year.  It was my first time reading this author so I had no idea what to expect.  The story starts with Tobin and Kyle coming into a small town as they try to find some shelter from the cold weather.  Kyle is focused on finding them a safe house and Tobin is distracted by his desire to finish a gift for Kyle.  Neither realize that while they’re focused on these things, someone is watching them.  
There was just the right amount of tension at the beginning.  It’s an apocalypse story so I definitely want to be a bit on the edge of my seat whether it’s Christmas time or not.  The author provided that as well as a story that also ends up having a touching and sweet aspect to the romance.  I liked both of the MC’s and the world the author created.  I actually would have happily read a story about these two’s relationship prior to this story.
There is nothing scary or gory in this so it’s fine for those of you who don’t do typically do apocalypse type books.  The main focus is the romance and the holiday.  
 
Cover by Paul Richmond:  The cover to this was the standard one of the Advent book and it was done by Paul Richmond.  I thought it was well done and fits the holiday spirit.  Since it is the generic one for the entire anthology it did not fit this story specifically
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 33 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640803015
Edition LanguageEnglish