A Lila Advent Release Day Review: Wreck the Halls (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Jessica Payseur


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Business has been good at Paul’s Café in Madison, Wisconsin—until a few months before Christmas. When Nick opens Nick’s Restaurant next door, Paul watches his customers leave for cheaper food and an owner who smiles more. With his livelihood at stake, Paul lashes out, trying to drive away Nick’s customers, but Nick won’t go easy, and escalating sabotage threatens to ruin the holidays for both of them.

Paul thinks all he wants for Christmas is to see Nick’s Restaurant go under, but the more he tries to drive Nick away, the less he’s sure he wants him to go. Nick is everything Paul secretly craves, but by the time he realizes Nick is all he really wants for the holidays, he might have ruined any chance for them to get together. And there might not be a present in the world that can fix that.

Wreck the Halls is a cute enemies-to-lovers short story with a mix of Grinch and Scrooges. As Paul and Nick clash over the weeks, it’s easy to see why they try to outdo the other.  And to understand why they loved their cafes so much.

Unfortunately, as with any short story, there are too many details left to the reader’s imagination. That’s without counting how fast they moved forward and talked about love. There are also some situations easily solve by simply talking instead of ignoring it.

Overall, it’s a quick read for those looking for a little Holiday cheer.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht is a bit simple but fitting for this story.

Sale Links: Dreamspinners | Amazon | NOOK

ebook, 46 pages
Published: December 1, 2017, by Dreamspinners Press
ISBN: 9781640803053
Edition Language: English

A Stella Advent Calendar Review Last Day: First New Year’s After the Apocalypse (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by Jessica Payseur


RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

first-new-years-after-the-apocalypse-2016-advent-calendar-bah-humbug-by-jessica-payseurWade Turner takes a drunk Jaxxon home after work hoping to get laid. What he gets instead is news that the world as they know it is ending—superbugs are sweeping the nation, leaving high death tolls in their wake, and the president has been assassinated. In this new storm of chaos everyone is referring to as the Apocalypse, Wade decides their chances are better if they stick together.

But when Jaxxon’s ex dies in a hurricane and his daughter goes missing, Wade watches the man he loves slip into despair. Desperate to save his relationship, Wade leaves in the middle of the night on a dangerous journey to save Jaxxon’s daughter—a child he’s not sure is even still alive. If he can put this family back together, maybe there will still be something worth celebrating in the aftermath of the Apocalypse.

I have to be honest and say I was ready to not like First New Year’s After the Apocalypse by Jessica Payseur, me and everything Apocalypse related aren’t on good terms. I’m not a fan of sci fi in general but the blurb  of this short made me curious. And I’m very happy I gave this new to me author a chance.

I struggled a little at the beginning of the story because I couldn’t feel a connection, a chemistry, between Jaxxon and Wade, and the way Wade basically made room for himself in Jaxxon life, made no sense to me. It was clear to me later that he felt something I totally missed and of course he took the right choice. I liked how the author kept me on my toes, I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next and I wasn’t expecting the ending but I so welcomed it.

I’m going to see what else Jessica Payseur wrote in the past, I’d like to read more of her works.

The cover art by Catt Ford is very fitting and for this I like it.

Sales Links




ebook, 49 pages

Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635331935 (ISBN13: 9781635331936)

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Mission Mistletoe By Jessica Payseur


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Mission Mistletoe coverCaptain Archer Pfeil’s current assignment has been nothing but one long string of disasters. As if being dumped right before Christmas wasn’t enough, the mounting misfortunes indicate he’ll be out of a job by the end of his mission.

But it’s difficult to salvage the assignment with Ambassador Ilin a’dlen Jhex around, pushing all Archer’s buttons. He struggles to keep his distance from the out-of-bounds ambassador, but Jhex has other plans in mind….

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

I always like to see what the unusual holiday short story has to offer so Jessica Payseur’s Mission Mistletoe seemed to fit the bill.  But unfortunately I think the author was trying a little too hard and crammed her story full of too many elements that took away from the holiday cheer and overloaded it with cumbersome world building that didn’t always make sense or feel necessary in a Christmas short.

Poor Captain Archer Pfeil.  His mission seems doomed with everything going wrong, from fuel to food source.  On board is an important ambassador who is evaluating the humans now pushing into their territory in the galaxy.  Payseur tells us that Ambassador Ilin a’dlen Jhex looks similar to a bat (ears, fur) but dresses like someone out of 1001 Arabian Tales. He has an unusual type of society with multiple sex partners plus he likes to sculpt. So many holes in this character..we get too much or not enough depending on the information. There is no real logic to the buildup of the species of the ambassador which is part of the problem if you want the reader to feel a connection to him.

If you look closer at the world building, more questions appear.  Why would a crew who loves its captain lie to him for a alien they don’t know anything about? Think about the trust that breaks. Under that shaky surface just lies more questions.  The characters and circumstances just don’t produce any heat, or substantial logistical groundwork needed for the reader to engage their feelings about the characters or relationship.  Thank goodness, Payseur doesn’t go for any instant love here, that would have been disastrous.

As it is, if you aren’t a scifi fan, if you don’t look too deeply or ask any questions of the world building, then this is a sort of pleasant little space romance.

Cover art by Bree Archer is nice but a little jarring, doesn’t come together as a composition, exactly like the story itself.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 49 pages
Published November 30th 2015
edition languageEnglish
seriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calenda