2016 Holiday Books & Reviews

I do not consider this a review blog.  I love sharing information about books in the MM genre and collecting and sharing holiday books through the MM Holiday Delights event.  Occasionally I will share books and reviews when I find books that I really enjoy.  Below are four holiday books that I read and my thoughts on each book and also links to reviews that I read that were either more in depth or expressed my thoughts on the books more eloquently and in one case helped put into words the way the story made me feel.

During the week that we celebrated our Thanksgiving holiday, I actually found time to read.   Wonders never cease!   I recently won an Amazon gift card, so I splurged on some Holiday books, plus I finally read a holiday book that I bought last year, but never found the right time to read.  I shouldn’t have waited!  It is so good.  I guess I will begin with that one.  🙂

WinterBallFSTitle: Winter Ball (Winter ball #1)
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date:  December 25, 2015
Genre: MM contemporary
Blurb:  Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work—and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.

One brisk night in late October, a postpractice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected—nor want to forget. Soon Skip and Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games—and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.

Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie—but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!

Thoughts:  I loved this story.  When I finished reading it, I felt like I  had just had a great big happy hug.  Skipper and Richie have been friends for six years, then in a chance moment, they realize that their feeling go deeper than friends.  The journey to their happily ever after is not exactly smooth.  They both have had less than perfect childhoods and that colors their ideas of relationships, plus Richie is still dealing with his family situation, which is a mess.  Thankfully, their long term friendship and deep affection for one another works in their favor.   It was sweet and endearing and a pleasure to read.  I absolutely adored the secondary characters (well – the nice ones).  I am excited that there is a second book in the series, Summer Lessons, which just released.

I would like to share a wonderful review of Winter Ball  by Christy Duke:   Christy Duke’s Reviews

Buy Links:

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Up next is a fun, sweet short story from last years Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar anthology.

o-blame-it-on-the-fruitcakeTitle:  Blame It on the Fruitcake
Series:  Dreamspinner 2015 Advent Calendar
Author:  Pat Henshaw
Publisher:  Dreamspinner press
Publication date:  December 01, 2015
Cover artist:  Paul Richmond
Genre: contemporary gay romance
Length: Short Story (12,035 words)
Characters:  Sam McGuire, Jay Merriweather
Summary:  Fruitcake is the laughingstock of the holiday season. But can it be an aphrodisiac instead? Motorcycle mechanic Sam McGuire is surprised to find a gaily wrapped box on his doorstep with a piece of fruitcake accompanying an invitation to a holiday party. Wondering if he’ll fit in, Sam attends the party—mostly to get more of the fruitcake he falls in love with—and meets Jay Merriweather, his new neighbor. The lure of Jay’s big family and its holiday tradition of enjoying Grandma’s fruitcake hook Sam, as does the sexy man himself. But Sam can’t imagine why handsome, college-educated Jay would want someone like him, who was raised in a children’s home and barely graduated high school. Maybe the magic of the holiday season can help two men who seem so different come together like the ingredients in a well-made fruitcake.

Thoughts:  This is a sweet story with an opposites attract vibe going on. The two men are brought together by, of all things, fruitcake. I liked the MC’s, thought the grandmother was a fun character, wanted to thunk the younger brother AND I really want to know what kind of fruitcake that grandmother makes, because I have yet to find one I like. LOL
It is a sweet, fun holiday read and I enjoyed it as my first Pat Henshaw book.

I would like to share this great review of Blame it on the Fruitcake by Whit!!!!!!!!! at It’s About the Book

Buy Links:

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santababy-digital_largeTitle:  Santa Baby 
Series:  Minnesota Christmas #4
Publisher:  Heidi Cullinan
Publication date:  November 08, 2016
Cover artist:   Kanaxa
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Length: 80,000 words
Characters:  Dale Davidson, Arthur Anderson, Gabriel Higgins
Summary:  Trimming the tree is more fun with three.

Twin Cities developer Dale Davidson has come to Logan, Minnesota, to turn it into Christmas Town, not to give in to Arthur Anderson’s offer to join him and his fiancé, Gabriel Higgins, for a Christmas Eve threesome. Dale is polyamorous, but it’s clear Arthur is offering a night of fun and nothing more. Maybe one night with the couple he admires so much won’t hurt…

Together the three of them light a fire hot enough to boil Lake Superior in January, and one night of fun becomes an extended engagement as Dale puts down some tentative roots in his new hometown. Everyone loves Dale, Logan’s own Santa Claus, and somehow no one knows what wild times are happening right underneath their noses. No one knows, either, the complicated ways they’re falling in love with one another.

But a shadow from Dale’s past emerges, an abuser threatening him with violence and shame. Ronny doesn’t want a happy ever after for Dale, only to draw him back into a consuming darkness. It will take the love of not only Gabriel and Arthur but all of Logan to convince their Santa he has nothing to be ashamed of—and that he will always have a home in their hearts.

Thoughts:  This was an interesting addition to the Minnesota Christmas series. We met Arthur and Gabriel in Book 2. They had their HEA and now their story is changing. This book explores polyamorous relationships and it is complicated. In addition to this, the story also explores the serious issue of consent.
The book still has the steamy romance I expected from Arthur, Gabriel and Dale, but also moments that were uncomfortable and serious.
I read reviews after I finished the book to see if there was someone that could express my thoughts more eloquently than myself and it was Kaje Harper. Her thoughtful, insightful review expresses those feelings.
I thought the book was wonderful. I love the way this author takes on topics that are out of the usual romantic story line and tackles social and political topics, while still giving us a sweet, sexy …romance.

Here is a link to Kaje Harpers wonderful review:  Kaje Harper’s Goodreads review

Buy Links:

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Barnes & Noble

 

a-little-christmas-magic-k-c-faelan-mm-holiday-delights-2016-boughs-of-evergreen-holiday-anthologyTitle: A Little Christmas magic
Series:  Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology
Author:  K.C. Faelan
Publisher:  Beaten Track Publishing
Publication date:  December 1, 2014
Cover artist: 
Genre: LGBT, Holiday, Christmas, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Short Story
Length: 90 pages
Characters:  Ryan Forsyth, Boone Ainsworth
Summary:  It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Ryan Forsyth is helping his friends decorate for Christmas. Little does he know that the weekend will usher in a profound change to his life, a chance for happiness if he isn’t too afraid to reach out and grasp it. Boone Ainsworth has been friends with Ryan since junior high, ever since their mutual friend Greg Hayes introduced them. Since the day they met, no one has stood a chance at claiming Boone’s heart except Ryan, but Ryan is so deep in the closet, he hasn’t got a clue. Their happily ever after is just a step away, until a panicked decision changes everything. From that point on, things don’t go smoothly and Ryan and Boone make mistakes neither may be able to forgive. But it’s the holidays, and Ryan is banking on a little Christmas magic to help smooth the way.

Thoughts: 
A friends to lovers story with the MC’s having some issues to are going to make it hard for them to have an HEA.
An event causes Ryan to finally admit his feelings for Boone,his best friend, but Boone is hesitant. He has seen how Ryan reacts to stressful situations in the past and his own past experiences make it difficult for him to trust Ryan. The progression of the relationship is rocky and both characters make some,big mistakes. Boone’s especially bothered me.
I liked that the characters asked for help, worked on the relationship, discussed what they felt needed to happen or not happen to make the relationship work. I enjoyed the bit of Christmas magic that Ryan experienced. It was cute and unexpected. The ending was sweet and I felt hopeful for the MC’s HEA.

Buy Links:

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