A MelanieM Review: Wrapped with Love by Beth Bolden

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

A Five Points holiday-themed novel, featuring a surprise couple, and lots of your old favorites: Jemma & Gabe, Nick & Colin, Landon & Quentin, and more!

NFL player Jordan Christensen walks into Reed Ryan’s restaurant without a reservation. It isn’t the most serendipitous of meet-cute’s and they certainly aren’t the likeliest of romances, but over venison steaks and crème brûlée, they fall in love anyway.

Flash forward two years . . .

Jordan isn’t a football player anymore.

Reed sold his restaurant.

But even more drastically, they’ve lost each other.

When Reed moves to Los Angeles take a new job, he doesn’t realize Jordan now works there too. But Jordan definitely realizes how precious the second chance fate has bestowed on them is. He’s determined to make up for everything that fell apart the first time around, and it turns out he’s not the only one scheming to right old wrongs.

Starting a new career is always difficult but sharing office space—and big projects—with an old lover is particularly rough. Between impromptu Secret Santa exchanges, Christmas light viewings, and more tacos than even Reed can eat, the two former lovers have an eventful holiday season to navigate.

Wrapped with Love by Beth Bolden was such a sweet, heartwarming romance that it made me anticipate the holiday season even more as it’s one of the first stories that mentions all the Christmas elements , has the sentiment I look for, and captures the spirit of the season too.  All without snow and in California!

Told in chapters with flashbacks to Jordan and Reed’s initial meeting, romance and breakup, this format sometimes goes awry.  But not here.  Bolden neatly uses the past to highlight the present, we see the men trying to move forward, the steps towards forgiveness and understanding and the character growth. Then the glimpse backwards where we see the couple in their innocence and sheer bliss as they move towards a breakup.  Yes, the author is moving them backwards in the flashbacks towards the moment it all goes wrong where it will coincide in the present where it will all go right.

Such a lovely and moving format.

So much about these characters spoke to me.  I loved Reed’s job as a chef, the cable food show they now work on together, the team of friends around them, really everything here.  Moving through this couple’s history and their reconnection is guaranteed to bring up so many wonderful feelings of warmth and genuine affection for these men. You are so happy for them to get their second chance at love, that you end up smiling even through the bittersweet flashback passages, because you know where they will end up.

I have one of the other stories in this series on my Kindle and will now return to it.  I loved Wrapped with Love that much!  You can definitely read this story as a standalone as I did, other explanations for the couples are given and I don’t think any more is needed.

Looking for a story to launch your holiday reading?  Wrapped with Love by Beth Bolden is a wonderful, heartwarming contemporary romance with more than a touch of the holidays to it.  I highly recommend it!

Cover art is simple. I wish it had more story elements to it.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 219 pages
Published November 2017
ASINB076YMPPYC
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

A MelanieM Review: Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Champagne KissesThe Christmas Eve wedding Evan Cleary pulled together in four weeks is crashing down around him and taking his fledgling event planning business with it. With an empty altar and over a hundred guests arriving soon, he turns to the resistant, gorgeous brother of the runaway groom for help.

When Richard Patterson’s flamboyant brother storms out hours before he’s scheduled to marry his equally dramatic partner, Richard is left dealing with the fallout. The last thing he wants is more drama, yet he can’t deny his attraction to the effeminate event planner trying to salvage the wedding.

Evan thinks his crush on Richard is a lost cause, but one steaming kiss later, he learns different. What starts as a night of hot sex turns into a connection neither expected. But Evan knows their relationship is hopeless unless the ultra-conservative Richard can embrace every part of him—both in private and in public.

Short, sweet and sexy, this Christmas novella is the very definition of  opposites attract. Lynda Aicher starts off on one side of the spectrum with Evan Cleary. Flamboyant, some would say delicate to the point of being effeminate, Evan has worked hard on this Christmas Eve wedding which was to launch his event planning business…even though it had disaster written all over it, starting with the couple in question.

His opposite is Richard Patterson, masculine, solid, gorgeous, someone who has never been attracted before to someone of Evan’s “type”, until now, an attitude that doesn’t sit especially well with Evan.  It’s a night of emotional meltdowns, harsh attitudes, and revelations set amidst a wedding that  anyone would call the wedding of your dreams.  Aicher has described it in detail and I’m sure more than one reader sighed in response.

I liked the clash of personalities which included that of Richard’s  brother and Evan, which had a friendship here too.  There is a bit of hot domination play here and enough drama to satisfy those who need it in their relationship stories.  All in all a satisfying sexy romp.

My only issues?  Some very iffy word choices, a very big no if you are at all familiar with my reviews.  Two words that should never appear with regard to the male anatomy…canal and channel.   And they both appear here.  I just start waiting for the tugboats to appear.  Or river barges or things of that nature.  It almost got this story knocked down to a 3 star but no, the rest of it was charming. When they appear, close your eyes and move swiftly past.  Other than that, this story is a keeper.

Cover art by L.C. Chase is nice but doesn’t have enough details to make it stand out from any other cover.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 83 pages
Published December 14th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleChampagne Kisses
ISBN139781626493759
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL

A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce by Brandon Witt

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryPaxton Peterson’s favorite day of the year is his annual Gay Boy Christmas dinner. He’s checked and double-checked his to-do list, because nothing stresses him out like the unexpected. Confident everything will run smoothly, Paxton embarks on his yearly snowshoed hike through the Rocky Mountains near his home. His perfectly planned evening is cut short by Logan Charles’s careless enjoyment of his brother’s snowmobile, and Paxton is stranded in the woods. It’s the worst thing that could’ve possibly happened to him—or maybe the best.

Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce by Brandon Witt was that unexpected present you find under the tree, the one you have no idea what’s inside from the shape or in this case the title.  What Brandon Witt delivers is a delightful tale of a annual hike gone wrong when he gets hit by a snowmobile.  The characterizations are realistic, the  scenes beautifully rendered, glowing yet natural, and the men funny and real.

I so wanted to spend more time with them and to see what happened as the door shut behind them.  No instant love, nothing more remarkable than a new connection that sparkles and might turn into something wonderful for the future.  I loved this story and hope that the author will take this couple and revisit them in the future.

Love Christmas stories but without a lot of sweetness or holiday overtones?  This is the one for you.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon

Book Details:

| Buy It Here

Kindle Edition, 25 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RRVVV4
edition language