A Lucy Review: Stealing Gifts by Mere Rain

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Jarrell isn’t happy about being a thief, but sometimes it’s the only way he can make ends meet. Broke and alone at Thanksgiving, he breaks into an apartment in a wealthy neighborhood. He’s only looking for cash, but when he spots an unfamiliar book by his favorite author, he impulsively takes the book as well. Reading it, he finds a letter used as a bookmark and realizes the recipient hasn’t finished the book. He decides to return it and accidentally wakes the owner.

Edmond is a shy editor with no family. He’s more excited to have someone to talk to about his favorite author than he is upset about being robbed. He has many more out-of-print books and is willing to lend them in exchange for company. Over a series of late-night discussions Jarrell and Edmond realize they have more in common than their shared love of obscure fantasy novels, including old griefs that they’re both ready to let go of now that they have someone to lean on.

First off, be ready to suspend belief for this holiday tale.  But since it is a holiday tale, I was prepared to do so.  Jarrell is a thief, yes, but he is a thief with morals.  He steals nothing sentimental, never takes from people who can’t afford it, doesn’t take more than he needs.  He is honest about himself. “Jarrell Jardine was a thief…Just a guy who swiped loose cash to buy food.  He only did it when he couldn’t find honest work in time to keep a roof over his head and he only took money.” 

When Jarrell breaks into a old, moneyed apartment he breaks his rule of only taking money when he spies a sequel of a childhood favorite book.  His mother had read him the book when he was small and he never forgot it.  Jarrell is an avid reader and he can’t resist the call of this book.  Then feels guilty because he realizes the owner mustn’t have finished the book.  He returns it, only to be faced with Edmond, the very lonely owner of the book.  Edmond lives alone in a sort of mausoleum apartment, nothing changed.  He has friends and rarely leaves his apartment.

Edmond and Jarrell begin a cautious sort of friendship, based on books.  Edmond has a library of books and he begins loaning these to Jarrell, with a promise to return them.  Jarrell’s guilt over stealing causes a few kinks at times but he is a good person.  And Edmond is just so lonely it’s painful.  “Usually I eat alone with a book.  Which is fine, but having company would be nice.”  The dust on the table made me want to hug Edmond.  He is just heartbreaking.  And his mother doesn’t deserve word one from him.

They bond, these two very dissimilar men who are really more alike than anything.  “If you had said you wanted, I don’t know, something like Agatha Christie but set in a space colony…” He trailed off.  Jarrell grinned. “You’re thinking that now you kind of want an Agatha Christie set on a space colony, aren’t you? Me, too.”  They are lovely.

Very low angst, this book, focusing more on two lonely men from very diverse backgrounds coming together to be each other’s person.  I thought it was a beautiful thing and would recommend this novella.

The cover, showing Jarrell looking at Edmond’s apartment in the snow, is just right.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 111 pages
Published November 2019 by Mischief Corner Books
ASIN B081LNDTKG
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Celebrations in the Season of Long Nights (Escape From the Holidays) by Mere Rain

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Having escaped his abusive family by winning a scholarship to college, Shahin promised himself he would never go back. So when his plans for winter break fall through and he’s left homeless for a month, he decides he’d rather camp in the park than go home. But he doesn’t realize it’s the solstice, the longest night of the year, the start of the season when the supernatural is at its strongest.

Yima is a demon-hunter, a duty passed down through his family. He doesn’t resent it, but it does get lonely, especially since his work is at its most difficult and dangerous when everyone else is celebrating with family. After he rescues Shahin from an demon attack and finds that he has nowhere safe to stay, he takes him back to his flat. He just arrived in town and hasn’t even gotten the electricity turned on, leaving the two men with little to do but talk.

It isn’t a surprise when they end up in bed, though what at first feels like a temporary comfort grows over days spent together into a deeper bond. Nomadic Yima has to find a way to stay without demons coming after his lover, and Shahin has to decide whether he can risk his heart loving a man who constantly puts his life in danger.

I felt for Shahin from the beginning, as he is trying to survive without any support from his family.  Yima is quite mysterious and not very open.  While I liked Shahin, I didn’t feel much of a connection to Yima though I know he is used to being secretive.  Shahin finds a surrogate mom along the way too.  It was nice for them both to find acceptance and somewhere to belong.

The cover art by Catherine Dair is nice and is one of the holiday series styles.

Sales Link: Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, ~12,500 words

Published: December 12, 2018 by Mischief Corner Books

Edition Language: English

A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Review: The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Their favorite holiday is going away. Will it take their friendship with it?

Since 1989, the birthday of the Emperor of Japan has been celebrated on December 23rd. But this is the last year; the Emperor is abdicating, and next year there will be no holiday.

This is the last time they will have this day as a national holiday on Akihito’s birthday, so has a sad, bittersweet quality as seen through Akihito’s point of view. The story does talk about Japanese culture, festivals, and places without explaining–and that’s fine as they would not explain things that are a part of them, not to each other or in their thoughts. Their parents were neighbors and they have been a part of each other’s lives since birth, but now go to different universities and are on that cusp of adulthood where they will continue moving in different directions as work and life happen. As they spend the day together, Akihito struggles with his feelings for Kenji. Kenji has been struggling to tell Akihito his feelings as well. This is short and sweet with hope for the future.

The cover art is by Brooke Albrecht and captures the story well.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 25 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644050422
Edition Language English