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 Donna
TITLE: The Puzzle Box
SERIES: 2017 Dreamspinner Advent Calendar – Stocking Stuffers
AUTHOR: CC Bridges
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 36 Pages
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2017
Elementary school art teacher Cole Peters is expecting a lonely Christmas this year while his longtime boyfriend, James Carducci, is on deployment with the Army. However, a box from James contains puzzles that lead Cole on a scavenger hunt through the greatest moments of their relationship. Together with his best friend Liz, Cole works his way through each clue.
The final puzzle could lead Cole to a gift beyond his wildest expectations.
OMG, yes! This story is everything! Gah! It was so darn Christmas-miracle sweet that I’m still grinning. God I love me a good Christmas story!
James and Cole first met in high school when James saved Cole from a group of bullies. They became best of friends and it wasn’t long before they shared their first kiss and were officially boyfriends. Together all through college, James was there for Cole when his mother died, their school boy love growing into something much more mature. But James needed the military’s money to get through college, and straight after graduation the two lovers were split up when James was deployed overseas.
Now, when I say split up, I mean physically, because nothing and no one was actually going to emotionally separate these men. Through five years of military service, James and Cole spent as much time together as they could, but now Cole is facing his first Christmas without James at home.
It’s very obvious right from the start where this story is heading, so I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that we get through about 80% of this story before James even makes an appearance. Except through Cole’s flashbacks. Now no moaning! These flashbacks are beautifully sweet memories of James and Cole’s lives together. Right back to that first kiss. Even though we don’t meet James until the end, the love between these characters is absolutely clear. The almost depressed state that Cole is existing in as the holidays get closer and the extraordinary lengths that James goes to to cheer him up are perfectly written to lodge these men straight into your heart. And the detail that the author put into such a short story! I absolutely loved the puzzles and clues that Cole had to solve. Then to finish off we get the fairytale ending that sees Cole present James with the most awesome of gifts!
Even though it’s only thirty four pages, this is my favourite Christmas story so far this year!