A Touch of Mistletoe ~ Less Than Three Press Holiday Anthology

91c09estryL._SL1500_Title: A Touch of Mistletoe
Series: Less Than Three Press presents a collection of stories about people brought together by the magic of mistletoe…
Author(s): J.K. Pendragon, Talya Andor, A.F. Henley, E.E. Ottoman, Megan Derr

Genre: Paranormal/Contemporary/Holiday
Length: Anthology (182 pages)
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (December 17th 2014)
Heat Level: Mild to Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Product Link: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=125&products_id=840
Reviewer: Tams
Review: Five different authors came together to share these five distinctly different stories with a little holiday flare.


Here for You by J.K. Pendragon
Warren’s life has been shrinking ever since his wife passed away. Blind, and finding it difficult to adjust to life on his own, it’s easier to hide away in his house. When his friend Missy invites him to a Christmas party, an unexpected kiss with a stranger under the mistletoe leaves him confused and wondering…

JK Pendragon set the stage for the stories with her gay for you tale that all started with a kiss under the mistletoe. Warren is still recovering from his wife’s death when he attends his best friends Christmas party. Not really in the mood to socialize, he finds himself in the library seeking solace from the festivities, but he is not the only one to need a little peace and quiet.

Warren is confused and almost argumentative with Kyung about his sexuality, but when a second kiss leaves him wanting more, Warren quickly deals with his newfound attraction to another man.

The Christmas Spirit by Talya Andor
Christmas in Japan is no big deal for Ash Harmon, with his family half a world away and supernatural problems that have no respect for the holidays. When he picks up a bodyguard job for a rising star of figure skating who seems to be encountering trouble with a restless spirit, he stubbornly resists the unexpected attraction to his charge, wary of the risks that come with relationships. But the mistletoe has other ideas…

Talya Andor turns the tables with spooky ghost story set in Japan with a burgeoning romance between a paranormal investigator and the skater he is assigned to. This shot story has a lot of content with the PNR, multi-cultural romance and mysterious aspects all vying for equal attention.

A Beautiful Thing by A.F. Henley
Sometimes, Fate gets tired of being ignored. And some nights, Fate decides something will just have to be done about it. Enter Drualus, Senior Correspondent for the Collective Assembly of Christmas Fae, working with the Night Before Reach Out Program. He’s got a few short hours to change Scott Misener’s outlook on life, love, and understanding. Lucky for Scott, Dru knows a tried and true trope that might just do the trick…

AF Henley confused me with her sci-fi story that included what I think were a fairy and a guardian angel, perhaps these two thoughts of a character in my mind were one in the same? I’ll be honest, I skimmed this one, didn’t quite catch my attention.

Ad Meliora by E.E. Ottoman
It’s Christmas Eve and An-An and M.C. have plans to spend Christmas in Texas with An-An’s family. But their plans are cut short when M.C. takes on a last-minute case. Thankfully, though, it should be an easy exorcism.

Until they arrive at the snowbound lodge where trouble resides, and come face to face with a demon wolf unlike anything they’ve ever encountered.

EE Ottoman transcends normality with this transgender sci-fi nod that delves into something sinister, exorcism, murder and mayhem all while one of the female leads is transitioning into her new-found identity as a male. This one calls for a girly bits warning, including the terminology for said bits.

Two Parts Mistletoe by Megan Derr
Kingston has worked hard to get where he is: owner of his own shop, master potion maker, well-respected… and lonely, too busy with life to enjoy more than his regular visits to Acacia House. If he wishes his loneliness might be eased by Hux, the man he meets at Acacia twice a month, well, someday he’ll work up the nerve to ask. Maybe.

Then Hux unexpectedly visits his shop, distressed and in desperate need of help to save his employer from a love potion…

Megan Derr rounds out this stellar casting with her magical tale with a historical feel. Kingston is a potion maker that Hux has called on to help him with a potion gone wrong. As it turns out, Hux’s boss is the unfortunate recipient of unrequited love that resulted in a love potion gone wrong. But that is just the backdrop for the story, the real focus here is on the relationship between Kingston and Hux, which has been a long time coming you learn as you read the story.

As I said at the start, these are all five distinctly different stories with one common interest, love. While I skimmed through the Henley and Ottoman stories due to subject, all five stories were very well written regardless. My favorite was the budding romance between Warren and Kyung. I would love to read a full-length novel for them.

If you are looking for a variety of stories from several well-versed authors then this steamy Christmas themed anthology will be perfect for you. Romance, mystery, suspense, paranormal activity and healthy dose of passion all underneath the Mistletoe!

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

Like Fire Through Bone by E.E. Ottoman

18334795Title: Like Fire Through Bone

Series:  Into Flame

Author: E.E. Ottoman

Genre: Paranormal / Historical Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-62798-025-8

Length: Novel (246 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 13th, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: Vasilios Eleni has learned to make the best of life as a eunuch and valued slave in the household of a wealthy silk merchant. When he begins having dreams of a demon who steals away children and eats them alive, Vasilios’s well-ordered life begins to unravel. General Markos Özdemir has been ordered by the Emperor to investigate the kidnapping and murder of children from the capital, but he’s become frustrated with lack of progress. When he learns of Vasilios’s dreams he begins to suspect they are the key to tracking down the demon.

Vasilios and Markos work together, and soon the attraction between them flares, leading to deeper attachment. Vasilios admits to his feelings for Markos but knows they must first find a way to exorcise the child-eating demon. Their quest takes them into to desert to seek out mystics and a half-man, half-serpent monk, as well as heretics, ex-concubines, and angels. The mission remains unsolved when Vasilios is trapped in the household of a cruel man. Things go from bad to worse for Vasilios, and getting back to freedom and the new love he has with Markos could cost him his life.

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

Product Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4180

Review: Okay so, I start reading this book and I had to force myself to put it down last night and get some sleep (yeah, I do that) only to pick it up first thing in the morning. That said, when it ended I was left with the incredulous look and a though spinning in my head drilling over and over “was that it?” and turning the next page just in case I missed something. The happily for now ending and the not so satisfactory closure spoiled the entire read for me.

Starting from the beginning though, I was entranced with this book. It had a Greek air on almost everything in the story and naturally, I was drawn to it. The names, the place where it’s set (The Empire), the society that oddly enough resembles so much ancient Greece, everything were intriguing and had a special allure. I did not like the religious stuff at all, but they hardly made it into my consciousness. The demon hunting, the bishops and Church politics, the monasteries and believers, they were all very well woven into the plot and place, and I believe looking at the story now that it’s finished that it would have not been as good without it anyway.

Now the main character of the story is Vasilios Eleni and he is a eunuch. This is the first time I have come across a story about eunuchs and to tell you the truth I was drawn to it in a perverse way, wanting to see where it would end and how, even as the very notion of men being castrated for fun made me cringe almost the entire read. Because yeah, owning a jewel (a eunuch made so before he hit puberty in order to maintain the androgynous features, and solely for sex) was a show of wealth and taste for the rich and powerful in this story. Can you see me cringing? But back to the story, Vasilios starts having some weird, vivid dreams about a demon devouring children right about the time children are going missing from all kinds of families regardless of the social stand. Lucky him. General Markos is in town and having business with Vasilios’ master, thus Vasilios turns to him for help, because these dreams are leaving him in quite a state of horror.

The hunting part of the story is not so much a hunt as it is a go-seek quest with Vasilios and Markos trying to find the people they need to banish the demon when the Bishop fails. Meanwhile Vasilios life changes for the worse when his master dies and he has been passed down to his master’s youngest and cruelest son. There is a show of unnecessary cruelty there and some events I truly didn’t get, because they made no sense, but they did help the story move forward.

Now romance-wise I find myself unable to produce words. The flirting between Markus and Vasilios was non-existed. We knew feelings were there, but there was not much show of anything, thus the pair not making a real connection with me. As for the inevitable intimate scenes, oh my they were more than weird because not only one of the men was missing something vital there, but also they ended up discarding BJs and penetration altogether, making the intimate scenes in the end a bit crippling. I suppose the author might have wanted to put more attention to the touchy-feely part and how love doesn’t need much for it to bloom, but in the end there was no love there either, just the possibility of one in the future, leaving me with the thought: “Was that it?” Oh wait, I already said that, but really, it was a huge WTF moment for me the end of the book.

So overall, I liked it, but it could have been better. It was highly interesting though, and the main point is that I read it so easily, so effortlessly and had a nice time doing so. Recommended for fans of the genre.


Song of the Spring Moon Waning by E.E. Ottoman

18753657Title: Song of the Spring Moon Waning

Author: E.E. Ottoman

Genre: Fantasy, Trans

Length: Novella (106 pages)

ISBN: 9781620043004

Publisher: Less Than Three Press (15th January 2014)

Heat Level: Low – Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Upon waking up one morning, Wen Yu is surprised to find a note asking him to return the song thrush given into his care while the owner was sick. The only problem is that Wen Yu was never given a song thrush. 

Though he has no time for distractions from his studies for the palace examination, Wen Yu goes in search of the unknown Liu Yi who left him the note. What he finds is a beautiful imperial eunuch, a talking tortoise, and a collection of mysterious moon poems that force Wen Yu to question what path in life he is truly meant to be walking …

Purchase Link: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=92&products_id=551

Review: Wen Yu is an honorable scholar student who is determined to live up to his father’s expectations of him, but when he finds a note asking for the writers song thrush returned it leads to a path that has Wen Yu questioning what he really wants. Liu Yi is an imperial eunuch and he has suffered from a mystery illness his entire life, when the Moon Poems are left in his care he believes there might be a cure hidden in the mysterious language. The two are brought together by a song thrush and a talking tortoise but can Wen Yu really help with the Imperial Exams so close, and, can he really reveal his dark secret to the eunuch he is falling in love with?

This is a wonderful little story that is filled with a slight whimsical fantasy thread, old world tales coming to life and a sweet love developing between two young people. Wen Yu has had his life planned out for him by his father, honor and family has been drilled into him from a young age, and his commitment to study is now engrained in him. Liu Yi is looking for his song thrush to be returned but meets a studious student instead, when he discovers that Wen Yu was directed his way he begins a tentative friendship Wen Yu and asks for his aid with the Moon Poems.

I must admit that I was drawn to this story from the opening scene, the Dragon of Jade Mountain and the Jade Rabbit of the Moon Palace, two lonely immortals, exchanging poems across realms but their chance to meet is lost and the Dragon sets off to recover the missing pearl. That scene does link in later with the main storyline of Wen Yu and Liu Yi and we are left wondering if there will be more to come at a later date. Liu Yi and Wen Yu’s relationship is a sweet one with both of them accepting the other and the storyline of the moon poems and the Dragon and Jade Rabbit are intriguing.

I became confused as to Wen Yu’s gender because I found myself becoming lost with descriptions and explanations… was Wen Yu a girl, made to act as a boy (Wen Yu’s explanation of his father’s secret) or was Wen Yu a hermaphrodite (sexual descriptions), I have gone over the book three times to see if I missed something, but I am left with the same confusion each time. Other than that I found the story to be enjoyable and liked seeing Wen Yu make his own decisions for his future, Liu Yi is a lovely young man who showed Wen Yu another future, a very cute couple who finally find the love they both deserve.

I recommend this to those who love sweet love stories, finding your own future, resolving a mystery, and an ending that is also a beginning.