Thursday, December 24, 2015

ARC Reviews: Sleigh Ride - Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar - Part 3

Sleigh Ride (Sleigh Ride - 2015 Advent Calendar)

The course of true love can be a bumpy, up-and-down, and sideways ride, but the end-of-the-year holidays are perfect for happy endings! Whether they’re finding a new romance or rekindling an old one, the men in these stories get some help from the magic of the season. Some of them might need a miracle to muddle through the conflicts and confusion that arise, but luckily for them, ‘tis the season. From naughty fun, to heartfelt and heart-wrenching reunions, to out-of-this-world adventures, these guys are in for quite a ride.


Anna's reviews:

A Certain Kind Of Holiday by Andy Van

3 stars

Cutesy storiette about falling in love and second chances. Twenty pages of polite and cute. With a lot of grinning and smirking. Merry Christmas.

Kismet by Cassie Decker

3 stars

New Year story about finding and losing a potential lover. Insta-love galore, and hands on chins, and through hair, and then there is bulging. Lots of bulging, in the end, right after the twitching. Sweet. Happy New Year.

Not The Best Day by Brynn Stein

3 stars

First person, Christmas shopping. And then this story suddenly has a backdrop of a real story, one that never gets its full moment in the limelight. Lots of people and lots of things are happening. This feels like an outline of a novel, not a short story. A lot of telling, telling telling, and then, bam, finished. There is a good story in there that is begging to be told. I hope the author takes it by the hand and writes that story. The children will be thankful. Please, write this story.

A Trip To Remember by Meg Harding

5 stars

This story is really enjoyable, maybe because it is slightly longer, so it has the time to paint a fuller image of the situations and the characters. I absolutely loved this one. LOVED IT!

Rosa's reviews:

Hapless by Therese Woodson

4 stars

This is one adorably fluffy Christmas story.

Ty is a freelance romance editor (I loved the jokes about "moist caves"--ew!) who's trying to find the perfect way to propose to his boyfriend of 3 years, free spirited nurse Micah. Unfortunately, Ty apparently really sucks at planning proposals. Everything that can go wrong, does, until almost every goes completely pear shaped.

It's funny and warm and sexy and almost put me in the mood for the holidays.

It's like a Christmas miracle!

Old Acquaintance by Avon Gale

4 stars

Aw, this one is great little novella about new beginnings.

Andrew Starling is a 43 year old newly divorced, software, dude. Also, he's a *cough* gay virgin (Yes! YES!). Elias is a 22 year old photography student and waiter at Andrew's club. They exchange a New Year's kiss that quickly turns into a New Year's grope that ends with them in Andrew's bed.

I like. *eyebrow waggle*

I also liked that Avon Gale didn't rush the relationship. I'm a romantic, but I find that "I love you's" or sudden commitment between two people who've just met to be off-putting. Promises that come too quickly or too easily make me doubt their sincerity. I'm happy leaving Andrew and Elias in bed together and leaving the rest of their relationship to my imagination.

Mission Mistletoe by Jessica Payseur

2 stars


Ilin is an ambassador from some alien race that starts with an N and has a lot of apostrophes in it. He's supposed to be observing human (or Terranian) colonies on different planets to help decide if his people want to allow humans to colonize near their territory. Archer is the captain of the ship Ilin is taking his tour on and he is one grumpy bastard. His boyfriend dumped him, the food replicator thingy keeps breaking and he's being forced to use a new type of biofuel that's ruining the engines. And he's got the hots for Ambassador Ilin and apparently that's a big NO NO. Luckily, Ilin has that hots for him as well, and uses Christmas and mistletoe to lure Archer into his space sack. (I mean his bed, I have no idea if as an alien he as a sack.)

I have a feeling the author concentrated a bit more on world building than romance. There was way. too. much. freakin' discussion about biofuel and food replicator's that burned cookies for my taste. Also there was a lot of discussion on why any type of relationship between a captain and an ambassador would never work out. Instead of feeling the UST, it just convinced me that I shouldn't invest myself emotionally. And so I didn't.

Also, I thought after patiently reading about biofuel (fuckin' BIOFUEL, man) I would be rewarded with some alien sex at the end, but no dice. Fade to black, my friends.

Best Laid Trap by Rob Rosen

3 stars

In his own words, Roy is a dirty "sheet-and-undies-sniffing horny" guy, who's fond of puns and lusts after his co-worker Steve. He devises a plan to get Steve in a cabin with just Roy, champagne and some condoms and lube. Roy's plan goes terribly wrong, however, when some snow blocks the entrance leaving him trapped. Luckily, he's rescued by the yummy Ranger Josh. Roy soon finds that his love for Steve only goes as far as some underwear sniffing and he and Josh quickly ring in the New Year with rimming, 69ing and some fun in the back door area.

"He was tight. I was large. It was a match made in heaven."

This is a fun little lust-filled romp, but I found that Roy's thoughts about how he felt like he'd known Josh for years to be a little more silly than I like.

But then again, they're both fond of puns, so why not?

Our copies of these stories were provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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