Review: “Make the Yuletide Gay” by Addison Albright, Nell Iris, Amy Tasukada, Nicky Spencer, Stephen Hoppa

TITLE: Make the Yuletide Gay
AUTHOR: Addison Albright, Nell Iris, Amy Tasukada,
Nicky Spencer, Stephen Hoppa
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: N/A
GENRE: Anthology
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 126 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2017
PRICE: $0.99 – e-book

BLURB:

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.

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

Authors Note: This anthology is FREE! Do not buy it for $0.99 at Amazon – we are working on fixing that! Currently available for free at Smashwords and soon at all other retailers.


Make the Yuletide Gay is a collection of five short holiday stories by some of my favorite authors and to make it even better the collection is free. So why not take a chance on this cute collection of holiday stories and enjoy the holiday happy feelings that they inspire. I especially liked how this collection was put together. At the beginning of each story is the blurb and at the end, there is a little bit about the author and a few links to some of their other books or social media. It makes it very easy to find more books by the authors if you liked the story that you read or if they had other books with the same main characters like Stephen Hoppa and Amy Tasukada’s stories. They both have multiple books with the same characters that are in the short stories here.

A Christmas Party to Remember by Nicky Spencer – This was a cute story about Cory and Wes who meet at a Christmas party and plan to meet up later for drinks. However, Cory never shows up or responds to Wes’ text messages. Wes vows not to let that happen again. So when Cory shows up again at the same Christmas party and wants to explain what happened the year before, Wes doesn’t want to hear it, but his best friend convinces him to listen to him. How was he supposed to know that Cory had been in an accident on the way to meet him and his phone had been destroyed leaving him no way to contact Wes since he didn’t know his last name or where he worked? There wasn’t a lot of depth or background, but the characters were entertaining and loveable. I would read a longer book about them. 4 OptimuMMs

Let’s Not Go Crazy by Stephen Hoppa – This Christmas story was cute. I haven’t read the other three installments of Nate and Ethan’s relationship yet, but it’s on my to-do list since I found them to be an interesting set of characters. I loved the addition of Ethan’s puppies, but I have only one thing to say, and that’s puppy training classes for the destructive but loveable mutts. 3 OptimuMMs

Captain Jack and the Snack Attack by Addison Albright – Another cute short Christmas story about Kenton and Gordie and the ornery kitten, Captain Jack. Kenton and Gordie don’t get off to the best start when they both bid on a signed Captain Jack Sparrow movie poster at a silent auction at a charity ball fundraiser. And even though Gordie was outbid in the end by Kenton, when they run into each other again it won’t stop Gordie from going out on a date with him. However, when their first date is derailed by the disappearance of Kenton’s kitten, aptly named Captain Jack, the men make the best of a silly situation and have a night in at Kenton’s place while they look for the kitten. 3 OptimuMMs

The Christmas Day Date by Nell Iris – Awe, I loved this short holiday story about Julius and Lenny. I would love to read more about them and their next date. I loved how bubbly and emotional Julius is and how honest Lenny is about his past. And the make-out scene was hot! 5 OptimuMMs

The Year of the Monkey by Amy Tasukada – I enjoyed getting to see Aio and Sato as they celebrated New Year’s Day with Sato’s family. Aio is a mess of anxiety and nerves over Sato’s parents not liking him, and so he decides to make homemade mochi. I loved getting to see how they make mochi and how much work it is. 4 OptimuMMs

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

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Review: “Beauty and the Guardian Beast” by Rhys Ethan

TITLE: Beauty and the Guardian Beast
AUTHOR: Rhys Ethan
SERIES: Queerky Tales
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Ethereal Ealain
GENRE: Fairytales
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 31 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 3, 2017
PRICE: $1.99 – e-book

BLURB:

The classic tales you know, the characters with secrets you don’t
***
Ayo is a lonely boy, bullied and withdrawn, until one day his father sends him away to the kingdom of Azizi, to study under the king’s advisor, Issa, a fearsome tiger, that thinks and talks like a man. Ayo misses his father and one day he takes it out on his new companion. The next morning he wakes up to find he is starting to turn into a beast himself and if he’s to ever turn back into his human form, he has a lot to learn.
Queerky Tales is a series of classic fairy tales retold with LGBT characters. Based on the French classic, Beauty & the Guardian Beast is a tale about oppression, kindness and forgiveness.
For children and adults alike.


Beauty and the Guardian Beast is the fifth book in the Queerky Tales series by Rhys Ethan. I greatly enjoyed this short story. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite childhood tales, and I always love the compassion and love that Beauty has for the Beast. I also enjoyed how the author has managed to make this retelling his own. It’s not just a gay retelling of the Beauty and the Beast.

Ayo is a lonely, withdrawn boy that has been bullied all of his life. He comes from a farming community, and he tries his hardest to help his father, but sixteen-year-old Ayo would rather pursue scholarly pursuits and read then work the fields. He’s also bullied because he’s not white like the majority of the students at the school. And that makes him even more of an outsider. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body, and he never sticks up for himself. I can easily identify with Ayo since I was in the minority race for my junior high school also and I preferred to read versus socialize with my classmates.

Ayo’s father knows what’s happening to his son, but he’s powerless to help him until one day a carriage comes to town, and Ayo’s father sees a way to get his son the life and schooling that he craves. He makes a deal with the king to have his son come and live in the kingdom of Azizi to study under the king’s advisor, Issa, a fearsome tiger, that thinks and talks like a man.

Instead of being grateful and happy over the opportunity that Ayo has been given, he misses his father and is resentful and petulant and takes it out on his new companion. He wakes up to find that he’s starting to turn into a beast himself. Under Issa’s tutelage, he learns that in Azizi he fits in with the other residents. He isn’t the minority anymore. Most of the residents have dark skin just like him but as he notices that the real difference between his old home and his new home is that everybody is treated with kindness and respect regardless of their color, race, job title, or gender. Ayo learns that to reverse the curse, he will have to learn how to treat everybody with kindness, respect, and ask for forgiveness from the people that he had hurt with his thoughtlessness. While learning his own lessons, he grows closer to Issa and falls in love with him, and together they uncover why Issa hasn’t been able to regain his human form after all of these years. I thought it was very fitting what happened to Ayo’s bullies from his hometown. It brought a big smile to my lips. This short story is suitable for children and adults alike. I can’t wait to read my next Queerky Tale.

Queerky Tales is a series of classic fairy tales retold with LGBT characters. Based on the French classic, Beauty & the Guardian Beast is a tale about oppression, kindness, and forgiveness.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

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Review: “Daddy, Daddy and Me” by Sean Michael

TITLE: Daddy, Daddy and Me
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 162 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 23, 2018
PRICE: $ 4.19 e-book

BLURB:

When Jeff agreed to be the sperm donor to his best friend Beth, he never expected a tragedy to leave his newborn and three-year-old motherless. Beth’s loss has totally thrown his life into chaos: his lover has left him, his house isn’t anywhere near childproof, and his boss feels the restaurant has been patient enough with Jeff’s time off.
Donny has always known he wanted to work with kids, and he just finished his degree in early childhood education. He didn’t count on the prejudice he’d face as not only a male nanny, but a gay one at that. Job-hunting has been frustrating to say the least, so when he knocks on Jeff’s door and is greeted by the sounds of things breaking and a pair of screaming children, he thinks maybe he can begin this particular interview with a trial by fire.
Becoming the nanny to Jeff’s children might be a dream come true for Danny and exactly what Jeff needs, but are either of them ready to really be a family?
First Edition published by TOP SHELF: An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers, December 2011.


Jeff lost his best friend Beth in a horrible fire, He was her sperm donor, so he has to raise her/his children, Robin 3 years-old and Kimberley 4 months-old, and then he lost his boyfriend, Mitch in the process. Jeff is lost until Donny comes to his rescue.

Donny has always wanted to work with children, he’s graduated but can’t find a job. He’s a gay man, and people seem to be reluctant to trust him with their children. So when he goes to his job interview with Jeff, he walks into utter chaos and understands that this family needs him.
I liked this book full of love.

Jeff is completely lost, traumatized and still mourning Beth, his best friend. He doesn’t know how to raise kids but refuses to give up on them. I love Jeff, I was sad for him, and he broke my heart. But he’s so loveable, I want to hug him and more I admit.

Donny is the gay version of Mary Poppins. The guy is calm, confident, and manages to deal with two kids and a lost dad in total chaos without breaking a sweat. No really, the guy is Mary Poppins. I love him, he has a huge heart, and he’s perfect for them.
The book and plot were good. I read it straight away, from the beginning to the end and I had a great time with them.
Put two hot men and toddlers in the same book and bam, I’m on it and happy.
I recommend this book. You’ll have a good time with a smile on your face at the end.

4 OtpimuMMs… because Robin!

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: ” Dead Camp 5 The End Game Part 2″ by Sean Kerr

TITLE: Dead Camp 5 The End Game Part 2
AUTHOR: Sean Kerr
SERIES: Dead Camp
PUBLISHER: Extasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Angela Waters
GENRE: Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 266 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 23, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 e-book

BLURB:

All stories have a beginning and a middle, but it is how those stories end that we remember them.

Everything must come to an end, and as Eli contemplates the loss of Malachi in a London ripped apart by war, he knows that the final battle looms ever closer.

Where is Ethan? Eli can feel him, their love for each other calling through time, but History conspires to keep them apart as Morbius uses him for the final game.

Desperate to find a way to end the war, Eli once again delves into the distant past in search of answers, but as Jack the Ripper taunts him from the pages of his dead lover’s diary, Eli is left despondent. So many lies, so many terrible secrets bleeding across his memories, and all of it to keep him safe from the fingers of those who would destroy him.

Love. All of it for love. So much lost, and all of it because of love. As Eli says goodbye to London for the last time, he can only hope that love will be enough to end the madness.

He has a plan to rescue Ethan. An audacious plan and it will take all of History by his side to see it through to the bitter end. It is time to break Ethan free from the bonds that enslave him, and as they hurtle towards Berlin, the final sacrifice begins.


Sean Kerr has really outdone himself. This final book of this wonderful series has left me speechless and full of tears. Please, do not attempt to read Dead Camp 5 until you have read the other four. Otherwise, this final book will confuse you. You MUST read the series in order to capture the pure beauty that Sean has created in this epic series. Trust me when I say that this series has hardly been about beauty and has a lot of angst and ugliness in it. But what Sean has done, is nothing short of remarkable. The series starts with questions and continues to add to the mystery and suspense through each new installment. The characters’ stories are revealed one at a time in one of the books making it an on-going serial. Before DC 5, Sean had left us on the edge of our seats questioning who, if anyone, will get their HEA!

So now that we’ve reached DC 5, everything is finally answered, and things make sense. But to get to these answers, there is so much pain and hopelessness. So much so, that it’s hard not to give in to the evil that lurks around every corner. Eli is in such a distraught frame of mind that my heart feels bad for him. In the same breath, I just want him to man up and get out of his pity pot. I would feel bad for him but then get mad at him too.

And of course, there’s Malachi, my beloved Malachi. This ghost weaved his way into my heart from the beginning. He has stood by Eli through the worst of the worst. But how long can that last until Mal follows his heart and tries to find what true love can bring him? To be loved unconditionally is something he has strived for from Eli for centuries and it was never given.

Gideon, my dear Gideon. You have sacrificed so much because of love. Are your sacrifices worth it? Is Eli worth it? You, of course, have been through so much heartache and he just hates you for it. You are my hero, and I felt so much in my heart for you. I can’t really say much other than continue to be you and never change.

There is so much history in this series, and it brought about so much imagination of beautiful places throughout history in my brain. The amount of research that went into the world-building of historic sites was fantastic, and had me wishing to visit them. The story starts at the beginning of time, through the worst of times. There is beauty and ugliness, hope & hopelessness, love and hatred, fear and courage and it’s all wrapped up in this finale. I don’t feel that I have captured what this book has, but please know, it is worth it to the very last words of the very last chapter as Sean has stated. I leave you with one of my favorite lines in the book.
“A kiss is a wonderful thing, but it is also the cruelest thing of all, for it may break that which it was meant to heal.”

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Teaching Ben” by Shae Connor

TITLE: Teaching Ben
AUTHOR: Shae Connor
SERIES: Dreamspun Desires
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 218 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 20, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Learning to love means a study in patience.
Fresh out of the military, Ben Cooper is ready for a new start. He’s away from his domineering father, making his own choices… and out of the closet. On his first day of college, he meets David Powell, who’s just the kind of gorgeous man Ben’s dreamed of. Too bad he’s the teaching assistant—which makes him off-limits in Ben’s eyes.
David is Ben’s age, but his life has taken a different path. He’s close with his family, who helped him deal with personal struggles after he came out. And while he’s staying away from any hint of scandal, Ben’s a kind of temptation he hasn’t faced in years. If only they’d met on more equal footing.
As the semester progresses and their lives become more entwined, keeping their relationship platonic becomes more difficult. They just have to hold out until the end of the semester….


I don’t quite know what to say about this book except that it was a really lovely, feel-good story, which was an incredibly enjoyable read. I loved the plot and characters from the first chapter of reading and found myself thinking about the story long after I had finished the book. I’ve never read anything by this author before, so wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I can happily say that this definitely won’t be the last book I read from her.

The blurb says more than enough about the story, so I won’t go into any further details as this would be spoiling the experience of reading the book for you. What I will say, is that the supporting characters (except one) are just as amazing and loveable as the main characters, and add a real depth and authenticity to the story. If you’re anything like me, then you’ll be left wanting more.

The romance between Ben and David is a slow-burn, so it isn’t going to appeal to everyone. But I found that it was the reason that I enjoyed the book as much as I did. They started out as friends, and the relationship grew from there. From the first glimpse of each other in the lecture hall, the first conversation, the mutual attraction and compatibility, and then the joint self-imposed abstinence, it all added to the build-up and anticipation of them finally getting together. There was no rushing into anything, no matter how much they both wanted more. So when it finally did happen, it was a much more intimate and emotional experience for them. And as a reader, this was a nice change from characters jumping into bed together just days/hours after meeting. It felt like I was right there with them on their journey, experiencing their feelings and desires. And also to have a romance with a HEA that had basically no drama or angst, was like a breath of fresh air.

The story is written in the third person, from both Ben and David’s POV, so you get a real feel for what each character is thinking and going through as everything progresses. I’m a big fan of dual POV, and think that seeing things from both sides adds a lot to a book. In this case, it was again true, because it worked so perfectly for how the plot/story developed and flowed.
I genuinely don’t have anything negative to say about this book or how it’s written. All I know is that I smiled a lot while reading. And at the end, I felt happy…real, tangible, glowing happiness. I wish it was a feeling I could take away from every book I read.

Do I recommend this book? Of course, without a doubt, I just hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis