A Stella Advent Calendar Review Day 17: And to All a Good Night by Felicitas Ivey

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RATING 2,75 out of 5 stars

and-to-all-a-good-nightKobbi AAkers was excited to have a traditional family Christmas with his younger sister Franzi, a famous rock star. But instead of the peaceful holiday he had planned, she’s turning it into a televised musical extravaganza, in a desperate bid for publicity.

Kobbi can adapt, especially since the show’s host Wytt Kanard is easy on the eyes and easy to work with, even if he doesn’t believe in Christmas at all. Wytt is alternatively amused and horrified at the simplicity that is Kobbi’s life and the enthusiasm he has for the holiday, all while taking care of his houseful of unexpected guests.

Maybe Kobbi can convince the cynical Wytt that Christmas isn’t an event to be managed, but something special to be shared. Maybe he can muster the courage to confess his attraction and offer Wytt a surprise present.

And to All a Good Night by Felicitas Ivey fell a little short to me. I’m a huge fan of holiday stories, but my problem with this one was I totally missed the Christmas spirit, I’ll be very honest and say the book ended and I didn’t even realize it. I wasn’t ready because it felt like I knew nothing about what was happening. The relationship between the supposed main characters was pretty much nonexistent, not even some building, no chemistry, no attraction, nothing at all.

The only reason why I’m not giving it a lower rating is Kobbi. I liked him a lot, he’s so caring and lovely, it was impossible to not fall under his lovely spell. And his cat? Adorable.

I don’t even like the cover art by Catt Ford, sorry.

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Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages

Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 163533179X (ISBN13: 9781635331790)

Edition Language English

A Stella Advent Calendar Review Day 11: Popcorn Garlands by Ariel Tachna

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

popcorn-garlandsCarlos Mendez spends all year working hard at his Houston-based landscaping business, and he sends every spare penny he earns back to his family in Mexico. By the time the holidays roll around, he doesn’t have much patience for the unadulterated greed and consumerism paraded past him. But a chance meeting with his neighbor, Ned Williams, and Ned’s cancer-stricken daughter, might help to remind him of the real meaning of the season—something beyond the gaudy lights and extravagant displays—something he wants to be a part of.

Popcorn Garlands by Ariel Tachna moved me deeply. It perfectly shows what Christmas should actually be, the true spirit of this holiday and not all the materialism we are so used of and too often abused.

Carlos kindness and his crew’s families’ generosity is so huge and lovely broke my heart. Versus little Sonia who is fiercely beating a bad illness. Versus a dad, Nat, who is struggling with life, dealing with his daugther medical bills, a new job and no money to scrap and buy a present to the sweetest child ever.

Although  the story is more a HFN because there is really no space for a development in the MCs relationship, I was pretty satisfied. I know Nat and Carlos are working on their HEA.

The cover art by Paul Richmond is awesome like everything he does.

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 26 pages

Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635331730 (ISBN13: 9781635331738)

Edition Language English

A Stella Advent Calendar Review Day 7: The Stockings Were Hung by Cassie Sweet

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RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars

the-stockings-were-hungHill hates Christmas.

The shoppers. The cheer. The drama. All of it.

Each holiday season is a painful reminder that seven years before, his lover, Drew, walked out of his life and moved across the country, leaving Hill like a cup of rotten eggnog. Now Drew is back and wants Hill to put a little jingle in his bells. Well, not this Scrooge.

Drew admits he moved to get away from Hill—but not for the reasons Drew gave him all those years ago. Some of his best memories are of Christmases he celebrated with Hill, and he wants nothing more than to spend a little holly jolly with the only man he’s ever loved. However, getting Hill to agree to a reunion is going to take a Christmas miracle.

I’m a huge fan of “second chance at love” stories so I was very enthusiastic to read The Stockings Were Hung by Cassie Sweet. And I liked it, it was my first book by this author and I already have my eyes on a couple of stories by her. I found this new holiday release engaging with well defined characters, even the secondary ones, plus a too cute dog. It could have easily been the perfect story, the one with all the elements I enjoy reading about. There was just a couple of problems: first of all, I struggled to connect with Drew and understand his reasons for leaving Hill seven years before (and he took his time to come back and say he’s still in love with Hill). Then the MCs didn’t really end up together, it was clear it was going to happen but it’s not actually on page. And I wanted to see them together, I would have preferred even just a couple of scenes more, it left me a little disappointed. That said, The Stockings Were Hung is a good holiday story and I wanted to reward the writing part with my rating.

The cover art by L.C. Chase is very sweet.

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 44 pages

Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635331692 (ISBN13: 9781635331691)

Edition Language English

A Stella Advent Story Review: Blame It on the Fruitcake by Pat Henshaw

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RATING 4 out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryFruitcake is the laughingstock of the holiday season. But can it be an aphrodisiac instead? Motorcycle mechanic Sam McGuire is surprised to find a gaily wrapped box on his doorstep with a piece of fruitcake accompanying an invitation to a holiday party.

Wondering if he’ll fit in, Sam attends the party—mostly to get more of the fruitcake he falls in love with—and meets Jay Merriweather, his new neighbor. The lure of Jay’s big family and its holiday tradition of enjoying Grandma’s fruitcake hook Sam, as does the sexy man himself.

But Sam can’t imagine why handsome, college-educated Jay would want someone like him, who was raised in a children’s home and barely graduated high school. Maybe the magic of the holiday season can help two men who seem so different come together like the ingredients in a well-made fruitcake.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

Blame it on the Fruitcake by Pat Henshaw was my first story by this author and I was pleasurably surprised by it. Although it’s a short, the author did really great, especially with the character of Sam. I could feel his past, his hurts and his feelings. I cheered him on to find some family and forget about the one who abandoned him in a basket. I was so happy he met the sunny Jay and his delicious fruitcake, not a sweets but a truly drug (LOL).  I felt the loneliness in Sam, scared to be part of something because he had none in his life and someone like Jay, so different from his nature, doesn’t seem the right person.

I liked the writing, the reading flew easily and I liked the plot and the development of the story. Sweet but not too much, most of all, a real story, believable. There were some funny moments too, when Sam stole the fruitcake.

Another great addition to the DSP Advent Calendar.

The cover art by Paul Richmond is so cute and his style is unique and lovely. He’s one of my favorite artist so of course this one is a winner to me.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 36 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RUW5XO
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

A Stella Advent Story Review: Talk Turkey By Bru Baker

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Talk TurkeyCarson is a California transplant settling into life in the Windy City. On his first Christmas away from home, he assures his worried family he’ll be having a real Christmas dinner.

Recent culinary school graduate Tom Stockton earns some extra money giving out cooking advice at the Talk Turkey hotline. Tom’s honeyed voice and sharp sense of humor are attractive to the lonely Carson, and Carson finds reasons to call the hotline again and again. But on Christmas Eve, Carson’s call is less playful and more panicked with the big meal looming. Carson is just looking for advice, but Tom has a surprise in store that might lead to much more.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

Talk Turkey by Bru Baker was probably one of the funniest I read among the DSP Advent Calendar stories I read this year. And surely the most developed in the MCs’ relationship. If you’re looking for an original plot, give this Holiday short a chance, you won’t be disappointed.

Carson has just moved to Chicago and in his first Christmas alone, away from his family, he promises his mum he is still going to celebrate with someone and cooking. The only little problem? He knows nothing about gravy, pot and what size of turkey to buy. Luckly he can count on Tom to save him from a frozen turkey called Terry.

It was a great pleasure to read this story, it was engaging and hilarious, I laughed so much. A lovely surprise by an author I’m soon going to read more about.

Cover art by Catt Ford is perfection.

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

BOOK DETAILS

eebook, 58 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RVC1LO
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

A Stella Advent Story Review: The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever by B.G. Thomas

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Rating: 4,25 out of 5 stars

The Beary Best Holiday Party EverBefore he discovered the Heartland Bear Clan, Ron Corbin figured no one could ever love a “fatass” like him. But the big group of big men accepts him, and likes him just the way he is. Having finally found a place he belongs, he works hard to get elected president of the club—and wins. He’s the happiest he’s ever been.

But Paddy Brennan, a sexy bear cub who blew into town and became Mr. Popular overnight, is elected vice-president. Ron doesn’t think Paddy has earned the honor, and now he’ll have to work shoulder to shoulder (and belly to belly) with the guy for a year.

Ron will do what’s best for the club even if that means setting his personal feeling—that Paddy is a jerk—aside. But then as the two men get to know each other, Ron reluctantly finds he not only likes the guy, but is growing more and more attracted to him.

Deep down, Ron still worries he isn’t good enough, but maybe Paddy can show him there’s a beary happy ending waiting for them after all.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever was a great surprise, well written and so realistic. Finally a story with normal characters, physically imperfect like us. The dialogues were all true and believable and I soon connected with Ron and his funny mind. The whole short was really awesome but I want more, I want Billy’s book. The bootylicious drag queen took my heart.

If you’re looking for a quick but well developed story, full of humor and sweet times, this new one by BG Thomas is highly recommended. I already have my eyes on a couple more of books by this new to me author.

The cover art by Catt Ford is really well done and fitting. Cute too.

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

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 81 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RVC1NW
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calenda

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