Review of: 2018 Advent Calendar Full Set – Warmest Wishes

TITLE: 2018 Advent Calendar Full Set – Warmest Wishes
AUTHOR: Beth Laycock, R. Quincy Cameron, Kim Katil,
Scudder James Jr, Daniel de Lorne, Blue Jones, Mere Rain, Ward Maia, Ren Holly, Anna Kaling, Crystel Greene, Emjay Haze, A.D. Ellis, E.J. Russell, Elliot Joyce, S.A. Stovall, Cy Blanca, Charles Payseur, TJ Nichols, Asta Idonea, Cassie Decker, C.S. Poe, Helena Stone, Renae Kaye, LE Franks, Kim Fielding, Jana Denardo, Elizabeth Noble, Chrissy Munder, Bru Baker, August Li
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Anthology
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2018

BLURB:

Celebrating the end-of-year holidays doesn’t always mean sleighs, snow, and snuggling to ward off the cold. How about making merry when it’s just as warm (or hot) outside as inside romantic hearts? Twinkle lights in palm trees, unity cups on the sideboard, bonfires in the backyard, eggnog by the pool, and no chimneys to be found… just the warmest wishes of the holidays bringing lovers together around the world.
A huge part of the world celebrates end-of-the-year holidays that aren’t anything like Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” In the southern hemisphere, it’s not even winter!
Holiday reading fun! A story delivered automatically to your bookshelf each day in December. More than 400,000 words of romantic fiction in 31 stories.
Stories will be available individually or as a package.
NOTE: Dreamspinner Press regrets to announce that one of the novellas included in the 2018 Advent Calendar package, Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze, was previously published as a short story. It was thoroughly revised and expanded as part of its inclusion in the Advent Calendar. We acknowledge that our readers expect new content as part of this package, and accordingly we have lowered the full package set price, with the novella still included as a bonus. We apologize for the inconvenience.


I picked three of the short stories to read, and I did pretty well on my picks. I picked one that had no heat to it, the second one had a moderate amount of heat, and the third book was very hot. I always enjoy reading the Christmas short stories from Dreamspinner press. They put me in the holiday cheer and put me in a good mood. I read Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo, Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye, and Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil.

Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo.
Blurb: Tony Gatti had his life planned: get his veterinarian license and go to work with his dad and uncle. Soon after achieving his goals, he learned the shadows and blurriness in his vision went beyond needing glasses. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic mutation with no cure. With his sight almost gone, he moves into his grandmother’s St. Augustine, Florida, home with his guide dog, Raven, to start life over. Nonna Concetta thinks she knows the perfect job for him. Her vet is looking for someone to destress the cats at a local rescue. Javier didn’t plan to hire a cute former veterinarian to fill the role of cat cuddler, but Tony couldn’t be more perfect. Worried his attraction is inappropriate and knowing the holiday season always depresses him, Javier wonders if he should ask Tony out, or if he’d just be spreading the gloom to someone who already has enough of his own. But if he takes the plunge, could it turn out to be the best holiday ever?
This was a cute short story. I’m such an animal lover that I really enjoyed how Tony was able to turn his life in a different direction when he found out that he was losing his sight and got a job as a cat cuddler instead of being a veterinarian. The story doesn’t have any on-page sex, but there is some great chemistry between Tony and Javier. Great holiday cheer.

Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye.
Blurb: Geoffrey Saxon is in his forties, a bit plump, a lot fuzzy, and rather boring in bed—and thanks to a very public breakup, everyone in his street knows it. However, what they don’t know is that Geoffrey sometimes watches his hot young neighbor, Vaughn, in the pool. Vaughn has invited Geoffrey to join his pool parties, but Geoffrey knows it’s only pity. As if things can’t get worse, Geoffrey’s air conditioner breaks during a heat wave in Western Australia—and just before Christmas. In search of some relief, he camps out in his backyard, where he also has a prime view of Vaughn swimming…naked. When Geoffrey’s injured falling from his spying post, Vaughn comes to his rescue and Geoffrey doesn’t think he can be more horrified. But he could be in for a sweet holiday surprise. Is he ready to take the dive?
This was another cute story. It had me laughing over some of the things that happened in the book. Geoffrey and Vaughn had great chemistry, and because of Geoffrey’s insecurities, they are taking things slow sexually in their new relationship. I will definitely be reading more books by Ranae Kaye.

Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil.
Blurb: One morning close to the holidays, Nolan wakes up to two surprises: a distress call from his younger brother and a beautiful man in his bed. Nolan, an art gallery owner, has always been discreet about his sexuality, but when his baby brother plans to come out at the annual family gala, Nolan wants to have his back—and that means showing up with a man of his own on his arm. Nolan knows just the man for the job. Skylar, who owns a karate studio in St. Augustine, can’t get his one-night stand out of his mind. When he runs into Nolan at his gallery, he is more than happy to volunteer his services as arm candy. Out-and-proud himself with his striking blue/ green hair, Skylar is all in. Their adventure means a fancy salon, family drama, lots of sex, a ninja hippo, and palm trees lit up in a very suggestive way. By the end of it, what started as a hookup might become much more.

I loved this short story. It had everything that I was hoping for when I read the blurb. It has a heat level of 5 mixed in with some family drama and Christmas cheer. The story had great flow, and I loved the author’s writing style. The characters had depth and were very lovable. I will definitely be checking out more books by Kim Katil

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

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Review: “The Night Sky Festival” by S.A Stovall

TITLE: The Night Sky Festival
AUTHOR: S.A Stovall
SERIES: Warmest Wishes Anthologies
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
GENRE: Anthology; Holiday
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 24 pages
RELEASE DATE: Dec 1, 2018
PRICE: $1.99 e-book

BLURB:

Photographer Zach is happy to pack up his gear and head to the Mojave Desert over the holidays. Ever since his ex-husband filed for divorce a day before Christmas, it’s safe to say this isn’t Zach’s favorite time of year.
Fortunately, he stumbles upon a town where the residents seem to agree. The good people of Baker would much rather celebrate the possibility of extraterrestrials as they dance under the stars in their unique “Night Sky Festival.” The locals are interesting, to say the least, and they want Zach to join them.
But is Zach ready to let go of his holiday bitterness? And if so, whose invitation should he accept: the cute cashier, the burly single dad, or the sexy fun-loving cop


Zach is a photographer sent to Baker a few days before Christmas to take pictures for a magazine.
He meets Ethan, a sexy cashier, Broden a hot single dad and Kross a super mega sexy cop. All of them seem to have interest in Zach, but only one of them will end their Christmas night with him.

The Night Sky Festival by S.A Stovall is a very short adorable story.

Zach is the Grinch; he doesn’t celebrate Christmas after his ex-husband asked for a divorce on Christmas Eve two years before. He doesn’t like the heat while he’s in the Mojave Desert, and mostly he doesn’t like people. Of course, it was without counting the 3 hot gay men.
It was a sweet story that I enjoyed as much as a piece of chocolate. You read it, find it tasty, good and want more. That’s what this sweet story did to me.

Go read your piece of chocolate before Christmas; it’s less caloric but just as enjoyable!

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “A Tender Curiosity” by Charlie Cochet

TITLE: A Tender Curiosity
AUTHOR: Charlie Cochet
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Anthology
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 90 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 15, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book

BLURB:

Take a journey into the past and meet the men who laughed, lived, and loved in a bygone era. This collection includes three short but sweet tales of infatuation, adventure, humor, and even a dash of the paranormal.
When Love Walked In
Private investigator Bruce Shannon’s cases of missing persons and infidelity don’t inspire warm feelings around Valentine’s Day. Luckily Bruce is quite happy with only his cat for companionship—until handsome Jace Scarret wanders off the street and into Bruce’s life.
In His Corner
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Jessie “the Demon” Dalton needs a cornerman, and Eli jumps at the chance, hoping for answers about why Jessie broke his heart years ago. It soon becomes clear that Jessie needs Eli in his corner—and in his life. Now all Eli has to do is convince Jessie.
Believe Me, Beloved
Robert Bradley dreams of singing on the radio, and when he attends the masked ball of handsome station owner Gabriel Chase, Robert has no idea his dream is about to take an unexpected paranormal turn.
In His Corner originally published by Torquere Press, Inc., September, 2012.
When Love Walked In originally published by Torquere Press, Inc., February, 2012.
Believe Me, Beloved originally published in Masks Off Anthology by Top Shelf, An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers, 2012.


In Tender Curiosity by Charlie Cochet, the author invites us to take a journey into the past and meet the men who laughed, lived, and loved in a bygone era. This collection includes three short but sweet tales of infatuation, adventure, humor, and even a dash of the paranormal.

When Love Walked In
Private investigator Bruce Shannon’s cases of missing persons and infidelity don’t inspire warm feelings around Valentine’s Day. Luckily Bruce is quite happy with only his cat for companionship—until handsome Jace Scarret wanders off the street and into Bruce’s life.
I really liked the way the author was able to capture the feeling of the Great Depression for this story. I could feel the humanity’s despair, and she captured the creepy, sleazy, and lazy landlord perfectly. I liked how private investigator Bruce Shannon comes off as a blustery type of guy that doesn’t have a lot of patients and is cranky. But he shows his true colors when he’s ordered by the landlord to kick out the vagrant sleeping on the same floor as his apartment and instead he invites him in, feeds him, cleans him up, and gives him replacement clothes to wear. It showed just what kind of a sweetheart he really is. And that was before he saw how well Jace cleaned up. He even ends up offering him a job. I really enjoyed the chemistry between them. I also loved his advertisement for a replacement secretary.

In His Corner
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Jessie “the Demon” Dalton needs a cornerman, and Eli jumps at the chance, hoping for answers about why Jessie broke his heart years ago. It soon becomes clear that Jessie needs Eli in his corner—and in his life. Now all Eli has to do is convince Jessie.
I liked this short story also. I loved how Jessie tried to protect Eli’s reputation when his reputation was being ripped apart after losing the heavyweight championship title. I liked that his uncle was Jessie’s trainer/manager and Eli got to hang out at the gym and watch his hero as he trained and that they became inseparable. I also liked that Eli came back into Jessie’s life just when he needed him and that they got a second chance at love. I also enjoyed that this story was set during the prohibition era.

Believe Me, Beloved
Robert Bradley dreams of singing on the radio, and when he attends the masked ball of handsome station owner Gabriel Chase, Robert has no idea his dream is about to take an unexpected paranormal turn.
This was my favorite short story out of the three. I loved how naïve Robert is. He works in the mailroom, but all he dreams about is singing on the radio. He would really like to sing for the station owner Gabriel Chase that he has a crush on. When he gets invited as a coworker’s plus one he has no idea that it’s anything but the masked ball that it looks like. He has no idea that paranormal shifters exist or that the color of the masks has any significant meaning to them. Wouldn’t he be horrified to learn that the people in the silver and gold masks are the lowest of the low and are about to be hunted by the paranormals? It’s a good thing for Robert that his boss, Gabriel, has such a big crush on him. However, the only way to keep Robert safe from the guy that brought him to the party is to become Gabriel’s mate and bond with him. Well, I guess there are worse things that Robert could be forced to do besides having to mate with the guy that he’s been crushing on.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading these short stories by Charlie Cochet as it gave me a look at what to expect from her other series. I have a feeling that since I liked When Love Walked in that I will probably like her book Between the Devil and the Pacific Blue. And since I liked In His Corner, I will probably like her Fallen Rose series. And the same with Believe Me, Beloved. I can’t wait to start reading her Soldati Hearts series and her Thirds series. And I’ve already read some of her North Pole City Tales series, so I know that I will love that series. So if you’ve been trying to decide if Charlie Cochet is an author to take a chance on, then I would give this book a try.

It’ll give you a great look into her writing style.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Shadowlands” by Charlie David

TITLE: Shadowlands
AUTHOR: Charlie David
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brad Firmino
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense; Mythology; Anthology
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 180 pages
RELEASE DATE: Oct 27, 2010
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book

BLURB:

Charlie David’s celebrated collection of short stories explores the heartfelt, and sometimes heartbreaking passion and pain of gay sexuality. Ancient myths are re-imagined with an exciting queer twist masterfully depicting the charged, fragile relationships of urban life today.


“Shadowlands is a collection of heartfelt and sometimes heartbreaking short stories from well-known actor and entrepreneur Charlie David that explore the passion and pain of gay sexuality. Ancient myths are re-imagined with an exciting queer twist, masterfully depicting the charged, fragile relationships of urban life today.
Story genres in this collection include romance, science fiction, fantasy/paranormal, horror, mystery/suspense, and poetry.”

This was a fast read! The stories are short (a few pages) but are more than telling. You get sucked in from the very first word of the story, and all of a sudden you’re in the mind space of our MC.

The author touches many subjects, philosophical questions, ancient emotions we all face in one way or another. This book is categorized in MM genre, but I think I’m safe if I say that this book is not only for those who read his genre.

The subjects of the book touches its fundamental part of our lives, as: loneliness, greed, sorrow, joy, pain, terror and love.
The stories more often end in the dark than HEA. The author is not afraid to write about things that generally you can’t find in other books. Some of the stories are disturbing, but true. There are things out there (and no, I’m not talking about paranormal now) that we don’t like to know about it. It may be an auto-defense mechanism, but we all do it.

These short stories reminded me of dark poems represented as prose.

I really enjoyed reading it!

 

BUY LINKS

Dreamspinner Press: https://bit.ly/1r9Lhnx

Amazon: http://a.co/8uMxS9D

Audible: https://adbl.co/2rWlbYK

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2LljnAi

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2wWuGfn

 

Hi all!  I’m Charlie David and I’m happy to stop by here at the OptimuMM .  I’m excited to share that my book Shadowlands was released as the Shadowlands TV miniseries on Sunday, May 27th!  Whether you like to read a book and then watch a show or the other way round, I’d like to invite you into my world and explore Shadowlands.

We’re at an exciting time when it’s still rare for a book in the M/M genre to be made into a film or TV series.  While Shadowlands isn’t traditional romance it does explore love in three thematically connected stories – a couple renegotiating a relationship, a narcissist grasping to comprehend love, and star-crossed lovers mourning its loss.

I had the pleasure to work with a really talented cast and crew and so today I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to Oscar Moreno, one of the stars of the ‘Narcissus’ episode of the Shadowlands TV miniseries.

The Shadowlands gay TV series is comprised of three distinct stories exploring love.  The second episode in the Shadowlands series is titled Mating Season.  In the early 1950s, a couple explore the idea of opening their relationship while on a remote camping trip when they encounter a mysterious stranger.

 

Colombian born actor Oscar Moreno stars as Matteo opposite Nicolas James Wilson in the Shadowlands series.

 

There are story connections between the three episodes of Shadowlands.  You can read about them here.

 

Tell us about your story in the Shadowlands series.  What were the main challenges and fears you had in your role?

 

Oscar Moreno: In our episode , Will and Matteo negotiate the terms of their relationship while on a camping trip. This was my first leading role in a TV production. So initially I was concerned with the filming process.

 

As for the role, I was very excited to be exploring a gay character that was dealing with complex issues. For a long time mainstream gay media has focused on coming out stories. I’m glad to be a part of a story that brings to light issues that arise in relationships through a gay perspective.

 

How much of yourself goes into a character?

 

Oscar Moreno: I think that in order to create a meaningful performance, part of yourself has to go into every character that you play. For me, it was about about exploring my own emotions and thoughts with regards to open relationships. I believe that powerful performances comes when an actor is able to find the emotional truth of each moment.

 

How much were you able to relate your own experiences to create your character in the Shadowlands series?  And how much did you have to research or imagine?

 

Oscar Moreno:  Philosophically I relate more with Nicolas James Wilson’s character of Will. Since I believe that open relationships are usually more progressive. This however was a conclusion that took me some time to come to.

 

So in order to give life to Matteo, I had to think back to how I felt before the idea ever entered my field of view. Ultimately the experiences and emotions Matteo goes through are betrayal, self-doubt, reconciliation and love. These emotions can be very visceral to most so allowing myself to connect to these emotions and apply them to Matteo’s circumstances was a wonderful challenge to tackle. 

 

I also enjoyed learning about artists like Tom of Finland. I was familiar with some of his work but really enjoyed learning about his life and what drove him to draw such magnificent men in a time where homosexuality was condemned.

 

Nicolas James Wilson and Oscar Moreno in the Mating Season episode of the Shadowlands TV series

 

What aspects of the Shadowlands series are you excited for an audience to experience or discover?

 

Oscar Moreno:  The Shadowlands series offers a unique twist to conversations around sexuality and identity. I hope that the audience will get a chance to reflect on their own experiences and learn something new about themselves in the process.

 

The themes brought up can sometimes be challenging but ultimately it’s all about humans in different sorts of relationships. Allowing the audience to get a peak at how others live, we can hope to continue the conversation around sexuality and identity.

 

Each story or episode in the Shadowlands series is unique and has its own world of characters, time and place.  And yet there are connections between them. Were you aware of these connections while filming or was it a surprise to learn later?

 

Oscar Moreno:  During filming i was only aware that we were matching the lying down shot from Pygmalion Revisited but now I’m happy to be learning more though here.

 

Matteo (Oscar Moreno) and Will (Nicolas James Wilson) in Shadowlands ‘Mating Season’Xavier (Marc Devigne) and Rudy (Charlie David) in the Pygmalion Revisited episode of the Shadowlands TV series.

 

Romance between men and between women was common place and written about in Greek and Roman mythology.  Why is it important to continue sharing these types of stories today?

Oscar Moreno: Romance, sexuality and identity aren’t just for the Greeks and Romans. These are universal themes that should continue being explored. But the exploration is only beneficial if we take different perspectives from our own. As humans we tend to fear what we don’t know.

 

So it is up to each and every one of us to share our stories so that others may learn from it and thus fear it no more.

 

What was the hardest scene for you in the Shadowlands series to do and why?

 

Oscar Moreno: The most nervous I got during filming was when we were doing my monologue. Not only was it a lot of text to recall, but the subject matter of meeting Will through means of getting the shit beat out of me was really difficult for me to justify.

 

Who is a major influence for you and on your creativity?  

 

Oscar Moreno: I have been a fan of musical theatre since high school, so I take major influence from that.  I admire other actors that are able to seamlessly create captivating performances on stage and screen.

 

Is there a type of role you dream of playing but haven’t had the opportunity yet?  

 

Oscar Moreno: I would like to continue to explore queer characters dealing with their lives.  I’ve watched enough gay films to say that it’s about time we go beyond the unrequited love story of a suicidal gay teen.

 

Queer people have some of the most fascinating and unique stories. I look forward to being a voice for those stories that are told less often.

 

In addition to acting, tell me about the other areas of entertainment you’re pursuing.

 

Oscar Moreno: Stay tuned for the launch of my Youtube Channels Totesom and Cuddleom. Totesom will focus on fun entertaining videos that will give you feel for how musical the world is through my eyes.

 

Cuddleom is a channel that is be devoted to spreading love and exploring the benefits of touch.   These channels will uplift and empower viewers to take full advantage of their lives while having some laughs along the way.

 

With so much going on in the world today, what’s your motivation to be a performer? Do you act to explain?  To get away?  To move past? To widen our knowledge? To incite a conversation?

 

Oscar Moreno: Originally I started acting to find a safe community where all my quirks would be accepted. Now it has developed into an exploration of what it is to be human.

With the works that I’m part of I always look for the opportunity to give the audience a reflection of themselves while at the same time challenging their conventions. It is only through discomfort that we can truly grow.

 

What’s next for you as a creator/actor/performer?

 

Oscar Moreno: This summer in Toronto, I will be making my Drag Queen debut in this years Fringe Festival in a new musical called The Ding Dong Girls. Come check it out July 4- 15 at the Factory Theatre.

I am also a Professional Cuddling Practitioner in Toronto. If you are a career driven individual who notices they are lacking affection in their lives, take the initiative and reduce feeling of stress and isolation by contacting me for a consultation and cuddle.

 

Learn more about Oscar Moreno’s professional cuddling company:

cuddleom.com

 

 

About Charlie David

Charlie David has been a host for E! Television, NBC, OutTV, LOGO, here! TV, Pink TV, EGO, Fine Living and Slice Networks on such shows as FYE!, SpyTV, Crash Test Mommy and his travel series Bump which shot over 100 episodes around the world and garnered a Hugo Television award. He has appeared as musical guest on VH1, BBC, CBS’s The Early Show, and dozens of radio shows.

 

In 2005 Out Magazine recognized Charlie in the ‘Out 100’ at their gala in New York.  In 2007 the Philadelphia Film Society awarded Charlie with their Rising Star Award.  In 2008 the Festival del Sol in Gran Canaria awarded their Best Male Actor Award to Charlie and the male cast of A Four Letter Word. His documentary and scripted films have won several jury and audience awards at festivals around the world.  Formerly in a rock band… okay, actually it was a boy band, Charlie opened for Destiny’s Child, Pink, Snoop Dogg, Rick Springfield and Black Eyed Peas.

 

A love of storytelling led Charlie to start Border2Border Entertainment, a production company whose film and television credits include Shadowlands, Mulligans, Judas Kiss, I’m a Stripper (series), Studlebrity, Balls, Dating Unlocked, PolyLove and Positive Youth. Border2Border Entertainment’s films have been licensed to Showtime, Vice, Super Channel, HBO Canada, MTV/LOGO, Sundance Channel, Discovery Networks, The Movie Network, Movie Central, Hollywood Suite, hereTV, Encore Avenue, and OutTV in North America as well as finding a worldwide audience through international distribution partners.

 

He is a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and his current passions include travel, encounters with wildlife, SCUBA diving, mosaic tiling and podcasts.  He resides in Toronto and Montréal, Canada when he’s not living out of a suitcase.

 

You can explore Charlie’s films and TV shows on his website at https://border2border.ca or become a part of his social media network by visiting:

 

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/MrCharlieDavid
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/officialcharliedavid
Twitter: https://twitter.com/charliedavid
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/border2border
Audible: http://adbl.co/1K3xhz8
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2895612.Charlie_David
Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/charlie-david
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mrcharliedavid/

 

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

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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