Monday, 7 December 2015

Five Christmas Stories


For the first time ever I’ve embarked on a ‘Christmas-story-spree’. Because these stories are often, but not always, short and uncomplicated I’ve decided to talk about these five I’ve recently read in one post. Enjoy! There’s not a bad tale among them. J

CABIN NIGHTS by Ashley John

Pages: 108
Date: November 25, 2015
Details: Christmas Novella
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Oxford University student, Ben thinks a skiing holiday in the French Alps is his idea of hell, so when his best friend, Jonny suggests they spend Christmas there he isn’t impressed. Taking to the slopes like Bambi on ice, Ben isn't having much luck, until charming bearded beauty, Cal, comes crashing towards him in a flurry of snow at fifty miles an hour. From the moment Cal offers to help Ben get back on his skis, the attraction is instant and Ben is convinced that a man as perfect as Cal is out of his league. 

Womanizer Jonny wastes no time asking out a girl he meets on the slopes and he makes her promise to bring along a friend to keep Ben occupied that night in the Après-Ski Bar. When that friend turns out to be Cal, he's given the opportunity of a lifetime to wine and dine with a man of model like beauty, with a charismatic personality to match. 

When Cal invites Ben back to his Cabin, they find themselves trapped in an extreme whiteout and with the men forced to spend the Christmas holidays together, they quickly find they are doing more than roasting marshmallows next to the warm and inviting fire.

My thoughts:

‘Cabin Nights’ is a sweet and very Christmassy read. I mean, what could possibly be more seasonal than being snowed in, having to chop your own Christmas tree and finding love.
Ben on skies made me smile because it brought back memories of the one time I tried my luck on the slopes. I’d love to say I did better than poor Ben, but I’d be lying. Of course it all works out very well for our hero. If it hadn’t been for his poor skills on skies, Cal wouldn’t have crashed into him and….well, you get my drift.
I love Cal as a character and was a bit sorry we only got to see him through Ben’s eyes. I would have loved to ‘hear’ the thoughts running through this fascinating free spirit’s head.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This sweet, sexy and seasonal story is the perfect length to read in one, very satisfying, sitting.      


Pages: 31
Date: December 7, 2015
Details: Review Copy

The blurb:

It’s Christmas Eve, and folk music star Jonas is on his way to the most important gig of his career, the Volksmusik Stadl. Well, he would be if heavy snowfall hadn’t stopped him on the highway.

Fritz has to accompany his grandparents to the biggest folk music event in southern Germany, the worst punishment for a metal fan, especially on Christmas Eve.

When these two men meet at the concert after-party, sparks fly. Will this Christmas Eve be something special after all?

My thoughts: 

Two ruined Christmas Eves is a charming story. What’s not to love about bringing two disgruntled men together and having them create magic together.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Jonas. Here’s his big chance at a breakthrough for his music career and literally everything goes wrong for him. Fritz’s issues made me smile, maybe because I’ve found myself in his situation once or twice in the past; being forced to sit through an event featuring music you not only dislike but actively detest can be very grinding.

I love the uncomplicated way in which these two men came together. They’re attracted to each other and act on it. No soul searching, no heavy conversations just an almost irresistible pull and two men more than willing to give in to it. And when they do meet in Fritz’s hotel room they sure know how to heat up a cold and snowy night.

I liked that we were given a glimpse of Fritz and Jonas a year later. They’re still together and Fritz still doesn’t appreciate folk music J It was a perfect ending to a very enjoyable read.

The Christmas Throwaway by RJ Scott

Pages: 73
Date: December 7, 2015
Own / Paperback

The blurb:

Christmas is a time for giving - what do you do when no one gives a damn? 

For Zachary Weston Christmas means sleeping on a churchyard bench in the freezing snow with nothing better in his future. Thrown out of his home for being gay, he is left without money or, it seems, anywhere to go. 

Until a stranger shows him that some people do give a lot more than a damn.

Ben Hamilton is a rookie cop in his small home town. He finds a young throwaway, fresh from the city, sleeping on a bench in the churchyard on a snowy Christmas Eve. Can he be the one to give Zachary his own Christmas miracle?

My thoughts:

This story is heart wrenching and yet utterly beautiful and ultimately uplifting. My heart broke for poor Zach, a few days away from his eighteenth birthday and all alone in the wintery cold. His struggle to learn to trust again after years of abuse and neglect wasn’t always easy to read but glorious in how it depicted his growth.

Ben and his family and friends were like bright stars in a black sky. Giving without expectations they give Zach exactly what he needs and are there when his worst nightmare comes to pass, offering a perfect solution.

Spanning three Christmas’s, this story showed that there are not quick cures but that love will help heal the wounds, no matter how deep they’ve cut. And what’s not to love about a story that ends with a beginning? A wonderful Christmas story but, ultimately a great story to read any time of the year.

Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce by Brandon Witt

Pages: 25
Date: December 7,2015
Details: Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar
            package "Sleigh Ride"
Own / E-book

The blurb:

Paxton Peterson’s favorite day of the year is his annual Gay Boy Christmas dinner. He’s checked and double-checked his to-do list, because nothing stresses him out like the unexpected. Confident everything will run smoothly, Paxton embarks on his yearly snowshoed hike through the Rocky Mountains near his home. His perfectly planned evening is cut short by Logan Charles’s careless enjoyment of his brother’s snowmobile, and Paxton is stranded in the woods. It’s the worst thing that could’ve possibly happened to him—or maybe the best. 

My thoughts:

I think this is my favourite Christmas story so far this year, I loved everything about it. First and foremost there’s the original, wonderful and very fitting title; how could I not be tempted?

And then there’s the story itself as told by Paxton Peterson, who could so easily have been annoying with his compulsive behaviour and lack of self-esteem but instead is endearing and sweet. He put a smile on my face the moment I started reading and I didn’t stop smiling until I’d finished his story. What I loved most was that Paxton embraced the opportunity coming his way, even if it did seem too good to be true—almost akin to a dream. He might not be the most confident of people, he is no fool either and grasps what’s on offer only to discover that his Christmas miracle is much bigger than even his dreams dared to suggest.

Beautifully written and an utter delight to read this book and the characters in it stole my heart.

His Heart’s Desire by J.P. Barnaby

Pages: 26
Date: December 7, 2015
Own / E-book

The blurb:

Each century, Father Time selects a new Santa Claus. In return for his service, the lucky St Nick receives his heart’s greatest desire. Unfortunately, Matthew Carpenter is down to his last night as Santa and has no idea what his heart desires. 

My thoughts:

This book was a little charmer. When I think of J.P. Barnaby I think of hart-hitting, heart-wrenching stories, not necessarily of fairytales. Yet that is exactly what this story me reminds of, a delightful tale of wonder, magic and dreams-come-true, with the most inspired of happily-ever-afters.

Original, fun, sweet and sexy His Heart’s Desire was a delightful little read.

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