Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: This Wish Tonight
SERIES: Mischief Corner Collections #2
AUTHOR: Wendy Rathbone, J. Scott Coatsworth and Gregory L. Norris
PUBLISHER: Mischief Corner Books
LENGTH: 228 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 14, 2016
Warmth, family, good cheer? Not everyone associates these things with the winter holidays. For some, it’s a time of longing and reflection. Mischief Corner Books invites authors to create stories set during the holiday season and centered on the fulfillment of a wish or desire.
Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris
Glass Artist Lucius Price works desperately to create a holiday symbol intended to help the town of Villatopia heal from a rash of unsolved hate crimes against gay men. When he is targeted next and his studio set ablaze, handsome firefighter Oscar Ramos rescues Lucius from the flames, creating a different kind of fire during an unforgettable Christmas.
Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth
Zeke is a loner his late forties, living in a small cabin in rural Montana. Nathan has been traveling across country on foot since the zombie apocalypse, dealing with his OCD in an empty world. Zeke just wants someone to love. Nathan just wants to be home again. Fate brings them together in a winter wonderland, but their own fears and baggage may tear them apart. Is there still hope for love at Christmas, at the end of the world?
Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone
Remi has prepared for over a year to be the king’s gift at the annual celebration of the Eve of the Great Frost on the planet Niobe. Twelve men, taught under the tutelage of the Pleasure Master, hope to be the one (or one of several) chosen to spend an erotic night with the mysterious alien king who always wears a mask. But when Remi’s turn comes to be presented to His Majesty, everything goes wrong from a costume malfunction to breaking protocol. What happens next is a shock, and a night he will never forget.
**Please Note: The stories in this anthology will not be released individually.
Genres: mm romance, holiday, Christmas, gay science fiction, gay contemporary
This is collection of unconventional Christmas stories which is what drew my attention to it in the first place. Each of the three offerings were enjoyable and while different, either in setting or in the overall theme, Christmas and the joy of the holidays were present in some fashion. If you’re looking for a little dose of holiday spirit outside of the usual Christmas story package, this could be the book for you. 🙂
Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone 3.5*
This was a nice blending of fantasy and sci-fi elements that I thought worked well together. You’re given enough information about the characters and the general world setting to understand what’s going on without completely taking away the shroud of mystery surrounding the king. The Christmas vibe was probably the weakest in this story but I enjoyed the premise very much so I didn’t mind that. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see the main characters interact more once they came together but this was also the shortest story in the collection, I think, and it was understandable that the depth I was looking for wasn’t as present.
Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth 4.5*
The author had me at post apocalypse, no joke. 😀 This was a great story that really encompassed the feeling of hope that most often crops up around the holidays while still incorporating the realism of the general situation. I enjoyed the blending of tried and true apocalypse elements with the new twist given on what happened; I find it hard to surprise me in these kinds of stories anymore so this made for a nice change. Both Zeke and Nathan have their quirks and problems and it was fairly evident how they’ve each been affected by what happened to the world. The ending was great; things were looking up and I finished the story feeling good about where the men would end up.
Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris 3.75*
The closest to a ‘traditional’ Christmas story, I enjoyed the overall theme of this one but wasn’t as happy with the execution. The detail given about Lucius’ job was great and made for interesting reading and I really liked how he was trying to bring the community together and spread a message of love and tolerance with his latest project. Oscar was the more interesting character to me, however, and I was a little bummed that I didn’t get to see more depth to his character. There were quite a few time skips employed in order to move the story along and while I’m find with them in general, I felt they made for a choppier reading experience and the time skips during the sex scene itself was taking it a little too far. I also found the declarations of love between Oscar and Lucius un-plausible due to the length of time they actually spent with one another; falling for someone’s picture just doesn’t translate to real life situations for me. The ending to the story was great, however, and I felt it showed off the theme and what Lucius had been trying to do quite well. I liked this one but not as much as I feel I could’ve.