Like the last few years we at Love Bytes are reviewing the whole dsp advent calender
There will be a review posted each day throughout the month of December.
Let us know what you think of the reviews and the stories and have a chance to win a fabulous giveaway.
First Prize: 10 Dreamspinner Press ebooks (winner’s choice)
Second Prize: 5 Dreamspinner Press ebooks (winner’s choice)
Third Prize: 3 Dreamspinner Press ebooks (winner’s choice)
Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Pining for Perfect
SERIES: 2017 Dreamspinner Advent Calendar – Stocking Stuffers
AUTHOR: Ki Brightly
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 61 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2017
Stokely leads a solitary life, trying to do all the right things. He has a solid, respectable job, a properly decorated, respectable apartment, and goes to work every single day, no matter what. But it’s Christmas, and he hates Christmas, especially since his one guilty pleasure, listening to Asher Banks on the radio, is ruined with upbeat, holiday garbage.
Asher is the polar opposite—he loves Christmas to a fault and schedules himself into the ground with fundraisers to help the local community. When Asher and Stokely meet during one of the holiday spectacles Asher has thrown together, sparks fly, but neither one of them has ever had a real Christmas—or a real home. Will they be able to make one with each other
Stokely and Asher have both been thru foster care, but their experiences left them in wildly different places. Asher, who ended up in a good home for the majority of his time, is a bit more carefree. And a huge lover of Christmas. Stokely, though, had spent his time in care going from one home to another, unwanted and neglected. He is also not huge on the holidays. When they meet no one can deny that they are attracted to each other, but can their differences help bring them together or will it be too much to overcome?
While I didn’t find anything inherently wrong with this story or with these characters, I honestly can’t say I found it a very compelling read. It took me nearly two hours to read a sixty-page story because I couldn’t for the life of me focus on it. There was nothing there to hold my attention. The chemistry between the two characters isn’t very strong, and there was little in the plot that compelled me to read on.
Maybe I’m just burned out on the “Christmas-humbug meets jolly-saint-studly” trope. Especially when the humbuggedness of Stokely seemed rather forced. I was never quite clear why he hated Christmas. I can understand why he didn’t like Christmas, maybe…but to push it into hate? It is almost like there are only two ways of thinking about Christmas: either you love in every over-the-top fashion, or you are the grinch. Which is a bit absurd.
But there is not a whole lot in this short story I can point to as “bad.” Just boring, I guess. There don’t seem to be any stakes in this story or with these characters. Which makes it very hard to care about what happens.