A Lila Review: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Christmas is coming, and young couple Casey and Ellis are very much in love. Unfortunately, they’re also the definition of dirt poor, and they don’t have the money for nonessentials like decorations. Or a turkey. Or gifts. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma and Ellis’s estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest-looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon Line thrown away outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Life is still a struggle, but wealth isn’t always measured in money, and what seems worthless to others is often invaluable to the people who love it.

Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings is a cute holiday surprise. I loved the characters and how easy it was to feel their love for each other. In a couple of pages we experienced their loss, their needs, and their hope.

It’s kind of sad and at the same time, it gives the reader a sense of righteousness. It shows how little is needed to have a joyful holiday and how life only gives you what you can handle.

Happiness is apparent and I wanted more; more details,  more story, more love. For such a short story, it leaves a good impression and a smile on your lips.

The cover by Written Ink Design is simple and somehow matches the story. It’s a bit amateurish but it follows the JMS style.

Sale Links: JMS | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:
ebook, 46 pages
ISBN: 9781646561681
Published: December 7, 2019, by JMS Books
Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Make the Yuletide Gay: a Collection of M/M Holiday Stories – Various Authors

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5


Make the Yuletide Gay has a number of cute, heartwarming stories for the holidays.  Some are just too short, others are just not “holidayish” enough, missing out on some turn of the story that leaves you feeling just a bit let down.  here they are with my comments and ratings.

Sleigh bells ring—are you listening?

It’s that time of year again, and we have the perfect way to get you in the mood: A free anthology! Five holiday stories that are guaranteed to warm your heart, heat up your cold nights, and most importantly: Make your yuletide gay.

A Christmas Party to Remember by Nicky Spencer 4 stars out of 5

Last Christmas, Cory and Wes made a connection that left them both thanking Santa. But when Cory doesn’t show up for their first date, Wes swears he won’t make that mistake again. This year, can Santa’s magic find a way to bring them back together?

♥︎Thought this was one of the cutest stories here.  Lovers reunited at Christmas time.  Short and sweet.  Very nice.

Let’s Not Go Crazy by Stephen Hoppa Rating 3 stars out of 5

The holidays are stressful enough without Ethan’s boyfriend Nate trying to kill him with Christmas cheer. But Nate’s found a whole new way to torture Ethan when he reveals that he wants kids. Will their conflicting desires tear their relationship apart, or will they find a way to ring in the new year stronger than ever?

✒︎This one sort of missed the mark for me.  It seemed that they  brushed the whole discussion away and settled at the end.  Sort of sad and unsettled instead of finished.

Captain Jack and the Snack Attack by Addison Albright Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Two men determined to win the same treasure at a charity silent auction, a wayward kitten, grumbling tummies, and a dilemma: what’s the correct gift-giving etiquette for a first date that’s mere days before Christmas, and what could possibly go awry with this merry combination?

♥︎Meet cute and it has a kitten.  Heartwarming and sweet if too short.

The Christmas Day Date by Nell Iris  Rating: 4 stars out of 5

One rainbow Christmas tree in harm’s way and an afternoon spent eating far too many cookies, equals two men with changed holiday plans. But how does that translate into a date?

♥︎This was my favorite story of the anthology.  From the initial meeting to their get togethers  around that marvelous tree and discovery about each other.  I just loved it.  True Christmas! The writing was as great as the story.

The Year of the Monkey by Amy Tasukada Rating 3 stars out of 5

The last thing Aoi wants to do for New Year’s is spend it with his boyfriend’s parents, who were far from thrilled when their son came out. Can Aoi warm their hearts making traditional mochi or will they end up in an even stickier situation?

♥︎I liked this story but for readers unfamiliar with this couple from the author’s series, this might be a little confusing over certain elements about this established couple.  It’s far better to have the background than to come at this story cold.  With the background knowledge I found Aoi’s path towards acceptance heartwarming and hopeful.

Authors Note: This anthology is free at all retailers except Amazon.com. We have been unsuccessful in all attempts to get Amazon to change the price. Therefore we have decided to donate all proceeds from Amazon sales to the Trevor Project. If you bought your copy there instead of getting a free one, please know your money is going to a good cause.

Cover art is cute and that adorable guy will catch your eye anywhere.

Free at Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 126 pages
Published November 15th 2017