A Lion in Tales by Andrew Grey

LioninTails[A]LGTitle:  A Lion in Tales

Series:  Heartwarming

Author:  Andrew Grey

Genre:   Contemporary Romance

Length:  Novella, 82 pages

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press, December 1st 2013

Heat Level:  Moderate to Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb:   Larry Kincaid isn’t ready to be a parent, but when his sister dies in an accident, he takes his nephew, Angus, into his home. The change throws Larry’s life into limbo until he meets Joshua Langdon.

To Joshua, Larry is a lion: growly and strong, but too proud to ask for help. Joshua gets past his defenses and finds a place in Larry and Angus’s family, but Larry’s pride gets in the way. Can they turn their holiday romance into a relationship that lasts into the New Year?

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4486

Reviewer:   Tams

Review: Short, Sexy, and Steamy wrapped up in a pretty red bow! My three favorite colors, oh how I’ve missed you!!

Larry Kincaid inherited the responsibilities of being a father to his young nephew, Angus, when his sister passed away. Every day is about going through the motions with Larry thinking of what is best for Angus. All that changes when he takes Angus to a local shop to get a tux for their annual Christmas party. Angus is immediately enamored with the shop worker, Joshua Langdon, as is Uncle Larry.

Circumstance leads Larry to invite Josh to the Christmas party, and the two share a very heated, very passionate night for an after party. But when Josh leaves in the night without so much as a word or a note, Larry is hurt. A past relationship that went bad left a sour taste in Larry’s mouth and he jumps to conclusions about why Josh left then refuses to hear his explanation. As fate would have it, the two meet again by chance, shopping for Christmas trees. Can Larry let go of the past, be a father to Angus, and have a relationship with Josh?

Trademark Andrew Grey with the perfect plot and precise character development. The flow from start to finish was steady and graceful. Larry is a lion when it comes to his role as a father figure and his business, but when it becomes more personal with Josh, he acts like an unsteady kitten. Until Josh calls him out on it, and then it’s on! What he has to do is find a balance between being Angus’s father and Josh’s lover. This book seriously made me laugh, cry, and swoon.

If you’re looking for a fun Holiday read that is equal parts sexy and sweet, then this is the book for you.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through MM Good Book Reviews*


The Promise of Snow by Elizah J. Davis

PromiseofSnow[The]LGTitle: The Promise of Snow

Series: 2013 – Heartwarming Advent Calendar

Author: Elizah J. Davis

Genre: Romance / Holiday

ISBN: 978-1-62798-607-6

Length: Short Story (28 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5~3 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: Christmas is fast approaching and familial obligations are dampening Brandon Jacobs’s holiday spirit. On top of requiring his attendance at the annual neighborhood Christmas party, his mom has been bugging him to call AJ, a childhood playmate who just moved to town. Brandon’s memories of AJ as a kid aren’t exactly fond, and he’s not about to waste time on him as an adult… until he runs into AJ at the party and decides that Christmas might be the perfect time for a fresh start.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming.”

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4509

Review: Ah, this story is such a tease it’s nearly frustrating.

You remember those American Holiday movies where the single son of a family gets constantly set up by the mom on Christmas parties with the neighbor’s daughter and they to fight off a very irritating and meddling situation? Yeah, this story starts and continues one might add as such.

Brandon is constantly being buggered by his mom to call the grandson of their neighbor – with whom he used to play as kids and who actually was a horrible bully when no one was looking their way- to show him around now that he has returned back in town after many years of absence.

Of course, Brandon has managed to avoid doing so, only to regret it when he meets him at the neighborhood’s party. You see his past nemesis has turned out to be a gorgeous man and a very nice one at that. So now, after avoid him for nearly a month, Brandon finds himself chasing A.J. and hoping for a chance with him.

The story is very short and pretty transparent. While it would have easily been a bit more of a challenge if the intimacy between the two men was developed more, I found it to be only a sweet one, one holding promises, and almost a near frustrating one being so short and unfulfilling. Perhaps in another holiday anthology we’ll see how this couple is fairing, but for now it is a happily for now kind of read with the promise of something happening in the future.

Snow Globe by L.E. Franks

SnowglobeLGTitle: Snow Globe

Series: 2013 – Heartwarming Advent Calendar

Author: LE Franks

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Holiday

ISBN: 978-1-62798-608-3

Length: Novelette (44 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5~5 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: Kris Hamilton escaped the rat race in LA to live his dream of owning an art studio and making snow globes in a Christmas-themed town in northern Minnesota. But life in a tiny town isn’t as peaceful as advertised, and being treated like an outsider is making Kris’s Tourette’s flare up. When he inadvertently offends Tyr Tollefson—a beautiful blond giant of a man—Kris is ready to chuck it all. But he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Tyr’s cousin Bun, who shows them the magic of Christmas and gives them both a lesson in love and acceptance.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4510

Review: I found this story amazing. I have no words of how much I really liked this.

The characters that literally shine here are absolutely gorgeous and their flaws are simply what make them so lovable and undeniably charming.
Kris is a very talented artist. He created snow-globes that are simply perfect works of Art. He is also gorgeous the way I see him, but he has a flaw. His special brand of Tourette makes his brain conjure words non-stop when in an overwhelming situation. He simply can’t make his brain stop or his mouth for all it matters. When he moves in a Christmas-themed little town to make his dream come true, he didn’t counted on the narrow-mindedness of small-town people. His brand is not very well tolerated there and he’s just barely making it through the year. Things go even worse when he unintentionally pissed Tyr off, making Kris decide to leave his dream and go back to LA.

Tyr; what a nice character this one was. Tyr is a young man with the looks of a Norse God, who’s come back to the little town to take care of his uncle, whose health is fast declining, and his cousin who has a brain damage that makes her a weir mix of an adult with the emotional stability of a six-year-old. Taking care of them is no small task and some days his patience wear a bit thin. In one such day they were met with Kris and the stream of words coming out of his mouth infuriates Tyr, turning him into the protector mode that consequently leads to a really bad start to any kind of relations with the new artist in town.

Enter Bun, Tyr’s cousin, and her mania with Christmas. Her fascination with everything Christmas, including snow globes becomes the bridge between Tyr and Kris. What follows is an amazing story, sweet and emotional, and even a bit sad at some point. The two men become quickly more than friends, the romance building is superb and quite realistic, but they also get face to face with the ugliness and hardships life throws them. It’s this balance that gives this story its final spark.

For me this was a very interesting story, with enticing characters and a down to earth plot that made all the difference to the entire Christmas-theme moral in the end. I loved it and I wholeheartedly recommend it to romance lovers.

Gift Wrapped by Sam Hill

Gift-wrappedLGTitle:   Gift Wrapped

Author:   Sam Hill

Genre:  Contemporary

Length:  Novella (46 pages)

ISNB: 978-1-62798-592-5

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Reviewer: LeeAnn

Blurb:   Noah hates his job at the popcorn kiosk, and finding out his original holiday plans to return home have fallen through doesn’t help make his season bright. The daily Secret Santa gifts left on the counter of the kiosk are, so far, more frustrating than cheerful. Then a clown determined to turn Noah’s frown upside-down convinces him that Christmas might not be as terrible as he’d expected.

Purchase Link:   http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4494

Review:  I loved the whole concept of a Secret Santa / Admirer. Noah keeps getting gifts left at his kiosk. All he does is leave for a minute or two and there is a package waiting for him. Not just any old thing in them either…things he wants or brings back good memories for him.  Daniel is working as a clown and has the annoying tendency of calling him darling…why? Noah has no clue but he’s wondering does he have two stalkers? One being his Secret Santa and the other being the clown?

As you will discover as I did, this is a wonderfully charming story and I am so very glad I was able to read it. What Daniel does for Noah regarding Noah’s mom and sister is wonderful. A must read. Please do. You will enjoy every minute.

From This Window by Diana Jean

FromThisWindowLGTitle:  From this Window

Author: Diana Jean

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Nap-sized Dream (41 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts

Reviewer: LeeAnn

Blurb: Agoraphobic Lucas Davidson spends his days watching people from his window, taking detailed notes of what he thinks their lives are like. Occasionally he’ll go downstairs to the Da Vinci Café and fulfil his quota for human contact. That’s where part-time clerk Jeremy Roberts meets him. Lucas intrigues him, so Jeremy coerces him into attending a Christmas Eve party, and one night of fun turns in to a morning of choices. Can Lucas accept the colorful world Jeremy shows him, or do his introverted issues run too deep for anyone to help him?

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4482

Review: At the beginning of this story, Lucas reminded me a bit of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. I say this because he didn’t mind being alone and some of the sarcastic things he said sounded like something Sheldon would say. That is where the similarities end. Three years ago, after having graduated college and only finding dead-end jobs, Lucas turned into himself and had no will or want to even get out of bed.

Lucas sits at his window, day after day watching the people on the street go into and out of the store across from his apartment. Jeremy works below at the Café and lives across the hall from Lucas. Jeremy is a photography student and loves to photograph people and things. He also has a huge crush on Lucas. Not that Lucas would know that…..until the night he was “kidnapped” by Jeremy and brought to his Christmas Party. A slightly tipsy girl told Lucas that Jeremy thought he was pretty and wanted to photograph him.

I won’t tell you more of this but I will say that Jeremy is exactly what Lucas needs. He is awesome for him and I am very happy they met and that I got to read their short story.

A Prairie Dog's Love Song by Eli Easton

PrairieDogsLoveSong[A]LGTitle: A Prairie Dog’s Love Song

Author: Eli Easton

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novella (91 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2013)

Heat Level: Mild

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts

Reviewer: Mickie

Blurb: Ben Rivers always was a showman. He won awards in 4-H and rodeo competitions from the time he could walk, and he’s happiest in the spotlight. So when he got the chance to be a star—in porn—he took it. He still loves Montana and everything about being a cowboy, but when news of his alternate identity leaks out, he figures he’s lost the town’s goodwill forever. Clyde’s Corner would never accept an openly gay cowboy, even a hometown boy born and bred.

Joshua Braintree always had the notion that he and his best friend’s kid brother, Ben, would end up together. Ben’s always been a diehard cowboy, just like him: they need the land and its freedom as much as they need air. So when Joshua learns Ben moved away from their small Montana town to be a porn star in Vegas, he can hardly believe it. He’s determined to finally declare himself and bring Ben home.

Despite his longtime crush on Joshua, Ben won’t be as easy to tame as Joshua’s “lost cause” horses. It will take a lot of heart and holiday spirit for Joshua to convince Ben that even old prairie dogs can learn new tricks in the name of love.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4491

Review: A Prairie Dog’s Love Story is exactly what I expect a ‘Holiday story’ to be, sweet, charming, and sappy. The main love interests are like warm caramel, hot and sweet. Though the town gets more description than the sex, and the ending is quite implausible; you still feel yourself smiling in the end for the ‘hope’ of it all.

All in all, if you like the sweet, syrupy side of a love story, Eli Easton has definitely built a Wonka land for you!

Change of Fortune by A. Morell

ChangeofFortuneLGTitle: Change of Fortune

Series: 2013 Advent Calendar Full Set – Heartwarming

Author: A. Morell

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 978-1-62798-609-0

Length: Novelette (75 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb:Tomoki Yonemura, vocalist with popular British rock band Traction Yen, is celebrating New Year’s Eve in Japan during their tenth anniversary tour when he pulls a fortune at a temple. He thinks nothing of its promises for love in the new year—until back home in London, he meets Alex MacKinzey, a gruff auto mechanic who helps him out of a tight spot.

Neither expects the strength of love that develops throughout the year, but it will be put to the test as Tomoki’s fame clashes with Alex’s insecurities. Fortune brought them together, but will it also tear them apart?

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4511

Advent: Heartwarming: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4512 

Review: This story is a sweet and warm journey following Tomoki, a thirty-four years lead singer for a famous band, and his New Year’s wish. It resembles a diary tracking the days of the year and his new relationship with Alex.

See as famous as he is, the lonelier he gets with each passing year. Tomoki’s lovers can’t cope with his life and his celebrity status, and while it is easy getting into a relationship, it’s hard to keep one going. So that’s what he wishes for this year, a man who’ll come and stay.

Alex is a garage owner and when Tomoki comes to his doorstep with a broken car he gets tongue-tied, that expresses itself into rudeness instead of flirt. After an initial misunderstanding though, the two men hit it off and start not only dating each other but also being in an easy and passionate relationship, one both of them have wanted for so long.

This read is the classic celebrity theme, where the couple tries to make it despite the stress of fame. I loved how the plot went, it wasn’t overly dramatic and most of it was the sweet moments of this couple, how they fit together despite being different. I felt almost cozy along with them. When the inevitable misunderstanding hit them, I thought it to be a bit silly actually. Everything went fine but for a small comment, someone said that put the seed of out-of-place thoughts and everything started falling apart. Seriously, I didn’t think the reason of their argument to be a cause for a break up, and found Tomoki perhaps overreacting there at the end.

Overall, though it was a nice story, cozy, like coming home into a scene of lit fireplace and candles all around. Romantic gestures made you melt and the characters were so charming I could have stayed reading them for a bit more, even as there was a lack of intensity and passion.

Recommended for all those who love a romantic story that resembles hot chocolate.


The Healing Power of Eggnog by Jamie Fessenden

HealingPowerofEggnog[The]LGTitleThe Healing Power of Eggnog

Series:  Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming

AuthorJamie Fessenden

Genre:   Holiday Novella

LengthNovella (89 pages)

PublisherDreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2013)

Heat LevelModerate

Heart Rating♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb:   Will Sutherland hasn’t been home to see his parents in four years—not since they reacted badly when he came out. This Christmas, he’s finally worked up the courage to go home, where he’s surprised to find they’ve taken in a boarder. Ryan Bennett is just a couple years younger than Will, cute, sweet…, and openly gay.

As Will deals with his jealousy of the man who’s been receiving the love and acceptance he was denied, Ryan finds himself falling for Will’s brooding good looks. But Ryan also suspects the Sutherlands may be using him as a pawn in their long-standing conflict with their son. Will this Christmas finally tear the family apart, or is there a chance they can put their hurt and anger behind them?

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming.”

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4508

Advent: Heartwarming: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4512

Reviewer:   Portia

ReviewEven before this delicious morsel dropped into my inbox, I wanted it. The cover artwork is just so festive and inviting. And you know me…a total cover whore.

As for the story itself, it is everything I look for in a holiday read. Sweet, sweet and sweeter. Not to say that there isn’t a bit of angst, there is, but, it just enough to make the sweet sweeter.

Will and Ryan are an interesting pair. For that matter, the whole family is interesting. Will’s parents realized that they could have handled Will’s coming out better, but don’t have the words to say I’m sorry. Ryan isn’t so much a substitute for Will, in their eyes, but more of a second chance.

I love that fact that instead of the family falling apart, they all grew a little bit over the holidays. Opening up and finding a peace that eludes so many, during this time of year.

As for the ending, I am a sucker for beginnings. And if Jamie Fessenden were a nice man, he’d slip me the recipe to that magical eggnog. J