Holiday Invasion by Elle Sommers

HolidayInvasionLGTitle: Holiday Invasion

Author: Elle Sommers

Genre: Holiday Novella

Length:  Short (35 pages)

ISNB: 978-1-62798-588-8

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

Reviewer: Mickie

Blurb: Lukas and Taylor are looking forward to Christmas with their two-month-old daughter. However, Taylor’s parents and Lukas’s siblings decide they shouldn’t be alone for the holiday and invade the house. Their intentions are good, but it changes Lukas and Taylor’s plans. So not only is Taylor learning the ropes on his new job, but his and Lucas’s once-quiet house is now overflowing with people, and not all of them get along. Their holiday might crash and burn if they can’t bring their families together.

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Review: My Momma always said if you have nothing nice to say…. I never listen. But, I will be brief. I feel like these characters may possibly already be ‘known’ to fans of this author, like I was always missing the ‘why’ of why I should care about them…if that is not the case, (and this IS a standalone), this book fell very short for me…if it IS the case, (and these characters ARE part of an already familiar series), it STILL fell very short for me.

Holly and Oak by J.L. O'Faolin

HollyandOakLGTitle: Holly & Oak

Author: J.L. O’Faolin

Genre: Holiday

Length: Short (28 pages)

ISNB: 978-1-62798-593-2

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Mickie

Blurb: Twice each year, during the solstice, the Holly King battles the Oak King as Nature takes its course. This year, however, Holly concedes defeat far too easily. Curious about his brother’s haste, Oak nags his brother into revealing his secret: a new relationship with a human. While loving a mortal is not taboo, Oak fears his brother’s love may run too deep. But despite knowing he risks his heart, Holly is determined to share warmth with his Sergio for as long as the world will allow, if not beyond.

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Review: The imagery in this story, though it is short, is vivid and lovely. The story is enchanting. These characters made me happy to meet them and sorry to see them go. I only regret this wasn’t a longer read.

After Christmas Eve by Michael Rupured

81yhlH9CSRL._SL1425_Title: After Christmas Eve

Author: Michael Rupured

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Length: Novel (315 pages)

Publisher: MLR Press (October 11th, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Mickie

Blurb: As Philip Potter wraps up his last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, 1966, James Walker, his lover of six years, takes his life. Unaware of what waits for him at home, Philip drops off gifts to the homeless shelter, an act of generosity that later makes him a suspect in the murder of a male prostitute. Two men drive yellow Continentals. One is a killer, with the blood of at least six hustlers on his hands. Both men have secrets. And as Philip is about to discover, James had kept secrets, too. But James wasn’t trying to frame him for murder…

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Review: After his boyfriend of 6 years kills himself on Christmas Eve. Philip Potter, a sweet, warm-hearted man, has his life thrown into chaos. He has a gorgeous man trying to seduce him, his lover’s heartless father trying to get him to leave town to save his family’s “image, and some nutjob trying to frame him for murder!

This book, while not a scalding read, is an INTENSE read. Philip Potter is a sweet and caring man who is just starting to realize that he did not know the man he loved as well as he thought he did. Nor did he realize just how bad the homophobia was around him. As he tries to move on with his life, and explore the world around him and his options to make his world a better place, he finds out he is being framed for a murder he didn’t commit. A fact which, (because he is gay), may not actually count in the justice system of the 1960’s.

This book was exciting and interesting. A real page-turner. I enjoyed the imagery of D.C. in the 60’s. As well as the author’s, own admission that ‘any inaccuracies were by his own invention’. The plot is wonderfully suspenseful; with many twists and turns; as well as heart-warming; with loads of characters, you just can’t help but like…and some you can’t help but hate. I personally couldn’t put this one down!

I highly recommend After Christmas Eve. No, it’s not a happy, or sexy love story filled with hearts, flowers, puppies & romance; what it IS, is a truly suspenseful, edge of your seat mystery. ENJOY!

Let It Snow by Heidi Cullinan

LetItSnow72lgTitle: Let It Snow

Author: Heidi Cullinan

Genre: Holiday

Length: Novel (185 pages)

Publisher: Samhain Publishing (November 26th, 2013)

Heat: Moderate

Heart: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Mickie

Blurb: The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota north woods cabin is getting pretty hot.

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality, the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the north winds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.

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Review: Let It Snow is the Goldilocks and the Three Bears version I always wanted to read! Heidi Cullinan weaves that magic that she weaves so well ONCE AGAIN! (No surprise there!)

Frankie, the main character is so adorable and endearing with his insecurities and open heart; his strength of character is so obvious to everyone but himself, you find yourself wanting to just wrap him up in cotton wool…but that is not our job, it’s the job of a lonely, bitter, gorgeous bear with a grizzly attitude named Marcus!…and when the two come together, they SIZZLE! The transformation that their love, (YES, LOVE), produces; grows these characters into two wonderfully strong, sexy, and loving men; and is a joy to read. You find yourself rooting for them every step of the way, and hoping they can find a way to make their love last forever.

The cast of supporting characters is a fun one, and I personally would not mind reading continuation(s) of this book to check back in on Frankie & Marcus; as well as to read about the happy endings so many of these SCs deserve! This book is full of sexy bears, wonderful characters, plenty of laughs, hot sex and a great story! I highly recommend this book, as well as this author!

Let It Snow was a heart-warming and lovely story with characters that grab you, and a story that will make it hard to put down! ENJOY!

Goosed by Sasha Payne

GoosedLGTitle: Goosed

Author: Sasha Payne

Genre: Holiday

Length: Novella (52 pages)

ISNB: 978-1-62798-585-7

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 1st, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Reviewer:  Mickie

Blurb: Constable Mark Cordwell and Sergeant Bryn Powell deliver post, transport the children to school, and make sure the older inhabitants are safe in their quiet farming village deep in the Welsh countryside. It’s their first holiday together since Mark transferred from England, and Bryn and his neighbors are determined to let Mark know he’s welcome, with little traditions that mark the season. As Christmas and the Plygain service approach, Bryn has one more gift up his sleeve—and he knows it’s the one that will make their holidays perfect.

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Review: This story, while not written in a format I am used to, and the cadence snarled me a few times, is a sweet series of snippets into the life of a lovely couple sharing their first Christmas together in the Welsh countryside. The characters are sweet, vividly written and capture your heart, as well as your imagination. The love between the main characters is evident and beautiful. The love they have for their quaint town, and the folks in it are wonderful to read.

This story takes you on a very special journey during the week before Christmas, and the way of life in a place, that was a joy to discover. I recommend this book as a lovely getaway from the commercialism that has become the holidays…it is beautifully written, with characters that warm your heart and make you smile.

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.

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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!