DUO REVIEW BY CINNAMON AND DONNA
TITLE: Make the Yuletide Gay
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 126 Pages
RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2017
Sleigh bells ring—are you listening?
It’s that time of year again, and we have the perfect way to get you in the mood: A free anthology! Five holiday stories that are guaranteed to warm your heart, heat up your cold nights, and most importantly: Make your yuletide gay.
REVIEWED BY DONNA
A Christmas Party to Remember by Nicky Spencer
Last Christmas, Cory and Wes made a connection that left them both thanking Santa. But when Cory doesn’t show up for their first date, Wes swears he won’t make that mistake again. This year, can Santa’s magic find a way to bring them back together?
This quick little tale has everything you could want in a Christmas short story.
The only reason Wes is attending his friend’s work Christmas party is to act as a shield against her recent ex-boyfriend. He certainly isn’t expecting to make an instant connection with the gorgeous caterer named Corey. But after a hot night together, that Wes thought was more than a one-night stand, Corey disappears with only a note asking Wes to meet him at a certain café for brunch. A brunch that Corey doesn’t show for, and with his texts and calls unanswered, Wes concludes that Corey isn’t interested.
I’ve gotta admit, I didn’t know how the author was going to pull tis off. Because what possible reason could Corey have to not show up, not answer calls, not even send a text? For a whole year? But the author had an excuse for Corey that soothed my annoyance. And yeah, it was a bit farfetched and over the top, but hey, it’s a Christmas story. I like ‘em a little on the corny, ultramushy, OTT side. There’s nothing wrong with accepting that a Christmas miracle story could actually happen!
REVIEWED BY DONNA
Let’s Not Go Crazy by Stephen Hoppa
The holidays are stressful enough without Ethan’s boyfriend Nate trying to kill him with Christmas cheer. But Nate’s found a whole new way to torture Ethan when he reveals that he wants kids. Will their conflicting desires tear their relationship apart, or will they find a way to ring in the new year stronger than ever?
Let’s Not Go Crazy is actually a short story that features the main characters from Stephen Hoppa’s full length novel Everything Between Us. I was unaware of that fact until I began reading the story and was rather concerned that not having read the novel would impact my enjoyment of this tale. That wasn’t the case at all.
To be honest, I don’t even know what it was but there was just something about this story that struck all the right chords. Part of it was the way that the author was quick to make me care about Ethan and Nate. I actually felt a little distressed at the impasse they found themselves at regarding children. It’s says something of an author’s skill that they can make you care so swiftly for the men they’ve created. And while I thought both men’s reactions were a little childish and over the top, I love – LOVED – the way the author used the conflict between them to show the reader how all consuming their love for each other was. I’m not usually a fan of full sex scenes in stories this short, but here the author again used them to spotlight Ethan’s and Nate’s love.
You definitely don’t need to have read the story of Ethan and Nate becoming a couple, but after getting a peep into their lives here, I’m pretty sure I want to go right back to their beginning.
REVIEWED BY DONNA
Captain Jack and the Snack Attack by Addison Albright
Two men determined to win the same treasure at a charity silent auction, a wayward kitten, grumbling tummies, and a dilemma: what’s the correct gift-giving etiquette for a first date that’s mere days before Christmas, and what could possibly go awry with this merry combination?
This short story was all kinds of cute. What would a Christmas story be without a fluffy little kitten?
Gordie and Kenton first meet at a silent auction, where Gordie makes a horrible impression when he almost has a tantrum over Kenton out bidding him for a Captain Jack Sparrow movie poster. They meet again when Kenton brings his kitten in to the vet clinic where Gordie works. This time Gordie manages to make a better showing and he’s quick to agree to a date when Kenton asks. But now he has another problem. What’s the etiquette on Christmas presents if your first date is a week before Christmas? To gift or not to gift? How much should you spend?
What I liked most about this story is that this is exactly the sort of thing that I’d agonize over. Because you just know that whatever you choose to do, it’s going to be the wrong decision, and it’s going to be awkward. On top of that we have two adorable men at the very start of their relationship and an adventurous puffball named Captain Jack. I love men who get mushy over their pets, and when it comes to Christmas stories, my tolerance for sweet can reach embarrassing heights.
REVIEWED BY CINNAMON
The Christmas Day Date by Nell Iris
One rainbow Christmas tree in harm’s way and an afternoon spent eating far too many cookies, equals two men with changed holiday plans. But how does that translate into a date?
Writing short stories is a very unique kind of art form and doing it right is a very special talent. Nell Iris possesses this talent big time. CHRISTMAS Day Date is a lovely, heartwarming holiday read which allows us a few glimpses to the lives of two guys who have been neighbors for a year and beside a few quality conversations didn’t really know each other. As it happens fate and a few rotten family members bring them together for Christmas.
The power of the writing here is in the form of showing much more than is written down. To make us get to know two characters and their backgrounds in such a short period of time. The hints we get, the few flashbacks are enough to get an idea of who these guys are and where they are coming from.
The Christmas date is wonderful, and we get the promise of something more to come.
The holiday cheer, the rainbow Christmas tree and the delicious feast is woven together with bittersweet past, painful and life altering family roots our MCs had to overcome. They seem to be a great match and I personally know that they find their happily ever after with each other.
REVIEWED BY CINNAMON
The Year of the Monkey by Amy Tasukada
The last thing Aoi wants to do for New Year’s is spend it with his boyfriend’s parents. They were far from thrilled when their son came out. Can Aoi warm their hearts making traditional mochi or will they end up in an even stickier situation?
Amy Tasukada’s short story is actually part of an ongoing series of a truly adorable couple, Aoi and Sato. If you sign up for her newsletter you get a new story every month. So this one is a holiday episode and it reads exactly like that.
As I haven’t read the previous stories I knew nothing about these two guys. That being said this episode can be read, enjoyed and understood on its own. We get to know quite a lot during this story about Aoi and Sato, and their relationship with their parents. Their love for each other is palpable and their emotions though understated are truly present with tender moments, meaningful hugs. If you are a yaoi fan, you will definitely appreciate the writing style.
We also get some cultural background and information about life and New Year’s customs in Japan. This part is very fascinating and informative.
The Year of the Monkey is a sweet read full of hope and tells us two days’ events of this couple’s life. New Year’s Eve and Day are here and Aoi and Sato get invitations to two parties. I felt a bit left out of the previous details but decided to focus on the now and then, so I tried not to be hung up on missing information and had fun reading this short story.