A Lila Review:Yule Planet: Escape from the Holidays by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sofia Cancino is tired of her mundane life, her artificial environment and her large, boisterous family descending every holiday season. She’s promised herself this year will be different and books a stay on the exclusive—and expensive–holiday-themed resort, Yule Planet. She looks forward to being pampered while reconnecting with Old Earth traditions steeped in the magic and mysticism of nature. Everything will be perfect and she’ll leave as a more authentic human, better connected to her roots.

Naturally, things go horribly wrong. Sofia’s landing pod goes off course and instead of stepping out on the landing pad at the resort, she finds herself in the snow-swept perpetual winter of the planet’s hinterlands. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s “rescued” by a band of criminals on work release who run deliveries to the resort from far-flung shuttle delivery sites. They refuse to take her, a paying customer, to the resort and insist on dragging her along on their parcel run. Riding giant monsters. In frigid weather. Not to mention, Marta, who handles the monsters, obviously hates her.

If Sofia survives her vacation, she’s definitely yelling at someone’s supervisor until she gets a refund.

Yule Planet is one of those stories in which the romance element seems irrelevant. The world-build for such a short story is amazing, as well as the visualization. It’s easy to feel like part of the action and get involved with all the characters. The relationship between Sofia and Marta would have been better if they have stayed as friends. By the time we get a hint of them looking forward to more, the story is halfway through. I had to re-read the blurb to check if Sofia’s HEA was Marta or Shara.

I did enjoy the amount of diversity in the story and how not all the characters were likable. All their hard backstories added to the overall story. Each individual had a reason to be part of the events, including the chionisaurs. How they related to each other, as couples or co-workers was another unique fact.

This is a very good Holiday story. Very different from traditional Christmas stories, but perfect for the season. Once again, the author shows why she’s one of the best in her genre.

The cover by L.C. Chase goes with the story but feels a bit too contemporary. I wanted a little grit on it.

Sale Link: Amazon | Nook | Mischief Corner

Book Details:
ebook, 154 pages
ASIN: B07LGH3DBT
Published: December 22, 2018, by Mischief Corner Books
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Something to Celebrate: Escape from the Holidays by Evelyn Benvie

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Niko doesn’t hate the holidays; that would require too much commitment. He just doesn’t care about them anymore. He’s a demi, disillusioned mess and he doesn’t care about much at all. That is, until an enticing stranger blows into his life this Christmas and catches his attention—and his heart.

Fan is lost and lonely, a winter spirit adrift in a human world that has all but forgotten them. And then they meet Niko, a young man with the ability to see them, and they remember what it means to stay somewhere. To want someone.

Chance brings them together. But is chance enough to build a relationship on?

This was interesting.  Niko always feels on the outside because he doesn’t feel like those around him and while he doesn’t feel attraction immediately he longs for the companionship.  Fan is adrift in the world and trying to find an anchor.  I liked seeing them figure out what was going on but felt Fan was quick to assume when they had trouble understanding the world as it was.  It’s kind of a story of two outsiders hopefully finding happiness together which is a great concept.

The cover art by Catherine Dair is nice and gives some visuals for the story.

Sales Link: Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, ~21,000 words

Published: December 19, 2018 by Mischief Corner Books

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

An Alisa Release Day Review: Slow Thaw: Escape from the Holidays by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Javier Fernandez is a climate scientist living in a research station near the South Pole. Since his husband was killed in a car crash, he’s preferred to be alone, and is less than thrilled to have a junior scientist thrust upon him by his rich patron.

Col Steele is a trans man fleeing a bad break-up. He is ready for the next step in his career, and eager to spend Christmas anywhere but at home.

When a crack in the ice separates the two men from safety, they are forced to come to terms with their own losses and each other.

This was a nice story but I had trouble connecting to it and seeing the connection of these characters, other than mild attraction right away they hardly even talked when the disaster happened.  I get that Javier still needed to come to terms with his husband’s death and Col was healing from his break-up but they seemed to jump together after the disaster.  I don’t know it seemed like the couple days of knowing each other without actually getting to know each other didn’t relate to love.

The cover art by Catherine Dair is nice and a good background for the story.

Sales Link: Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, ~23,000 words

Published: December 8, 2018 by Mischief Corner Books

Edition Language: English