STRW December 2013 Summary of Reviews and Best Dec. Covers

Standard

Winter trees longs

December 2013 Book Review Summary and December Best Covers of the Month

December 2013 Review Summary

*Key:
S series
C contemporary
F-fantasy
SF-science fiction
PN-paranormal
SP-supernatural
H-historical
YA-young adult

5 Star Rating:

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane, C
Grime Doesn’t Pay: The Brothers Grime, Eddie by Z.A.Maxfield C,S
Oceans Apart by Laura Harner, C, S
Odd Man Out (4 series finale, #6)by Laura Harner, TA Webb, Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows C,S

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Blue River by Theo Fenraven (4 stars)PN
Christmas Serendipity by Liam Livings, (4.25)C,
Continental Divide written by Laura Harner, Lisa Worrall (4.25) C,S
Indelible Ink by Marie Lark, (4.5) C
Kick Start by Josh Lanyon C,S
Lost and Found by Z.A. Maxfield (4.5)C
Mindscape by Tal Valante (4.5) SF, S
Model Love by SJ Frost (4.25) C
Roughstock: Tag Team – Fais Do Do Season Two  by BA Tortuga(4.25)C,S

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Christmas Wish by Mychael Black, Shayne Carmichael SN, S
Housekeeping by Kim Fielding (3.75) C
Ride-Off (Polo #2) by Mickie B. Ashling (3.5)C
2 to 2.75 Star Rating:
N/A

1 to 1.75 Star Rating: N/A

Best Covers of December 2013:

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane, cover by LC Chase
Housekeeping by Kim Fielding, cover by Paul Richmond (his M/M American Gothic)
Lost and Found by ZA Maxfield, Cover by LC Chase
Mindscape by Tal Valante, cover by LC Chase

Housekeeping

LostAndFound_500x750

Mindscape_500x750

Christmas Kitsch cover

Review: Christmas Serendipity by Liam Livings

Standard

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Christmas Serendipity coverIts December 23rd and things aren’t going well for David as the days head into Christsmas.  Only days before David had just been dumped by his philandering boyfriend, and now he has just been fired from his job at the pub.  Only his friends, Tony and Cathy save him from a lonely and despairing Christmas when they invite him to spend the holidays in the flat they share in a small town in England. Unbeknownst to David, he will not be the only guest invited.

Handyman Christian decided that now he had a boyfriend it was a good time to come out to his parents and bring the new boyfriend home for the holidays.  Unfortunately for Christian his parents weren’t overjoyed about the news that he was bringing home a significant other that was male and that Christian was gay, so they disinvited him to their Christmas.  Then Christian’s new boyfriend promptly dumped him saying he couldn’t take the drama.  Alone and unwelcome in his family home, Christian has no where to go until his friend Cathy invites him to share in the holidays with her flatmate and their friend, David.

As the good food is cooked and the beer flows, a connection is made between David and Christian that offers a chance of becoming something deeper and quite wonderful.  But their painful pasts lurk just outside the door, waiting to enter and ruin the tentative start on romance and love.  Can David and Christian find the strength to move into the future and leave their past behind or will they lose the chance at love this special Christmas has offered them both?

As we head into the holidays, another lovely way to add to the warmth of the season is the pleasure of reading stories set in this season of celebration and love.  Christmas Serendipity is just that delightful story that will warm your heart and leave a smile on your face.  I am unfamiliar with Liam Livings but based on this story alone, I will certainly be seeking out more of his stories in the future.

One of the most frequent issues I have with holiday stories is the saccharine quality that can overpower the best of them, leaving the romance and characters almost too sweet to be palatable.  But here nestled in a flat in a small village in England, the four characters of this story, David, Christian, Tony and Cathy, never fall into that trap.  Instead I found them to be engaging, funny, and very, very human.  It didn’t matter whether they were trying to organize Christmas dinner or locate that last tree to be hauled up into the flat, this group of friends  were people I enjoyed  spending time with, foibles and all.

At forty-five pages, Christmas Serendipity is just that, a serendipitous holiday short that offers a chance at love and family to four people, especially David and Christian who need it the most.  I would have loved a little more of Christian’s back story as well as David’s rocky relationship history.  Yes, Tony’s character ventures into cliche, but it’s a delightful cliche and I adored him as much as I did David and Christian.  And yes, there was that scramble to bed and sex, albeit a sofabed, but Livings explained that away nicely via drink and desperation of the holidays, a stressful event that has caused more than just a couple of out of character behaviors from people.  So I can say I definitely can recommend Christmas Serendipity as a story to put on your holiday reading list.  Grab this up and a hot toddy or two and enjoy the warmth of the  holiday season!

Book Details:

Expected publication: December 8th 2013 by JMS Books

Mid December Thoughts and The Week Ahead in Reviews

Standard

Winter trees longs

It is mid-December and the end of 2013 is only weeks away.  So many people are still rushing around, making last minute trip preparations, fixing the holiday menus or getting gifts for those you love.  This year I find myself just so grateful to have my Dad still with us, after suffering a huge illness and operation.  My mother has stayed by his side, sleeping in chairs and wherever possible, in the hospital or rehab center.  For all their years together this has been the most they have ever been apart.  And now Dad is back home where he belongs, just in time for the holidays and his birthday.  Never have I felt so happy to be able to write those words.  Dad’s recovery and homecoming are all that I or anyone in my family  want or need for Christmas.  We have been given the best gift of all and we know it.  And are so grateful.

But there are so many others out there right now that need our thoughts, and if you are religious, our prayers for them and their loved ones.  And maybe something more, a little assistance if you are able.  LGBTQ Youth Shelters need our financial assistance, especially in the winter, when the cold drives so many inside in need of beds, food, and emotional support.

And if you love or have been touched by the books of Eric Arvin or TJ Klune or the men themselves, you may not be aware that Eric is ill and they could use our help and thoughts.  There is a fund set up to help Eric and his family offset the cost of his medical bills.  That is listed below as well as the links to the LGBTQ Youth Shelters. The holidays are a time of  love and giving, to all of those we are connected to by blood and by choice, and by need:

And now for the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, Dec. 16             Christmas Serendipity by Liam Livings

Tuesday, Dec. 17:            The Brothers Grime: Eddie by Z.A. Maxfield

Wed., Dec. 18:                  Model Love by S.J. Frost

Thurs, Dec. 19:                 Kick Start by Josh Lanyon

Friday, Dec. 20:              Christmas Guest Blog at Andrew Q. Gordon’s

Sat., Dec. 21:                    Oceans Apart by Laura Harner