An Ali Advent Calendar Review: Once in a Lifetime by Cassie Decker

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
All his life, astrophysicist Peter has dreamed of seeing the comet that last appeared on his birthday—and won’t be seen for another thirty-eight years. Since it could be his only chance, he travels to New Zealand. But his dream might be quashed after all when his rental car breaks down on the way to the observatory. He doesn’t even have a place to stay.
Fortunately a New Zealand native with a heart of gold offers assistance. But is kindness the only thing drawing the two men together?
Rangi can’t leave Peter stranded so close to Christmas, and his family has plenty of room—and love—to share. While Rangi is attracted to Peter, he’s seen too many of his friends get their hearts broken by tourists. Will they manage to see the comet on its decades-long journey across the sky… and take advantage of a rare opportunity that might never come again?
This was a sweet story with an interesting premise.  I thought it was pretty creative.  This author always comes up with unique storylines for her Christmas stories.  It was fairly short but you still got a good feel for both of the MC’s.  I liked them together and could feel their chemistry.  It’s a bit insta-love as most holiday stories are but in this case it didn’t bother me.
Overall I found this to be an enjoyable holiday story and would recommend it.
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas.  Cover is in the style of the Advent calendar series, attractive and eye catching, bright and like the models.
Sales Links:   Dreamspinner PressAmazon
Book Details:
ebook, 34 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644050552
Edition Language English

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

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
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review Day 18: Driven to Distraction (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by Cassie Decker

Rating: 2 stars out of 5


driven-to-distractionCowboys Wyatt and Brady are competing in a team roping event in Missoula, Montana’s annual Christmas Eve rodeo. Christmas is Wyatt’s favorite time of year and nothing is going to dampen his holiday spirit, not even his surly, no-nonsense roping partner. They’ve only been riding together for a week, but Wyatt has already secretly fallen head-over-boot-heels for Brady, though it’s painfully obvious Brady only has eyes for the rodeo’s grand prize purse.

When Brady is distracted during a crucial moment in the night’s first roping run and nearly disqualifies them, Wyatt is almost certain he is going to be another of Brady’s many rejected partners. Will Wyatt and Brady be able to sort out their differences and work together to win the grand prize? Maybe if Wyatt can show Brady that Christmas really is a time for miracles.

Drive to Distraction is more PWP than a holiday story.  There’s little depth to the storyline and less to the characterizations.  Both  seem more like an afterthought to the sex scenes which are plentiful but make little sense given their location (in the middle of a high stakes rodeo) or the reality of their situation with no thought to all the people that constantly are milling around a true rodeo or the homophobia that still is very much in existence on the scene.

Nothing in the story either makes me want to connect to the characters or their relationship.  One of the few stories I’ve read so far that I would give a pass to.

Cover by Paul Richmond.  Best thing about this.

Sales Links


Book Details:

ebook, 23 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Kismet (Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar) by Cassie Decker

Rating: 2.75 rounded up to 3 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryFate has a way of bringing people together, like it did when Tucker Wright and Callum Richards met unexpectedly in an airport coffee shop and formed a deep connection in the short time they had to spend together. But fate can also be cruel. When Tucker loses Cal’s phone number in his hurry to catch his plane, he has no way of reaching Cal. Then a dead car battery and a snowy night force their paths to cross again, will Cal believe Tucker and ring in the New Year with a little help from kismet?

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

Short and sweet for the holidays.  Two men instantly connect in an airport and promise to call.  But modern connections are fragile and technology means promises can be broken without intent.  Is it fate when the two men meet once more?

The story flies by quickly, the characters could use as much depth as the Aspen snow but it cute, sweet and its ends happily.  A Christmas concoction that  goes down easily.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 28 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish
seriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar