Friday, December 22, 2017

ARC Review: 2017 DSP Advent Calendar by various authors - Part 5

Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar 2017


Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most….

The holidays are a time when bigger often means better, and meals are huge, decorations are over-the-top, and elaborate gifts and grand gestures are one way to show affection. But beneath all the pomp and ceremony, after the grandiose presents have been unwrapped, the stocking stuffers are still waiting to add that final sparkle to the perfect celebration. Even the tiniest trinkets can be gems when they’re chosen with love, and like a good love story, they are held close to the heart and treasured for years to come. The festivities don’t have to end after the feasts and gift exchanges. Dig a little deeper for romantic stocking stuffers both naughty and nice.

Enjoy a tale of men in love with men every day throughout December.

An Unexpected Sanctuary by Cassie Decker

My rating:

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, where two young survivors of a flu pandemic that wiped out most of the world's population are traveling to what they hope to be a sanctuary for survivors in upstate New York.

Tobin and Kyle have been traveling for about a year, hoping to make it to New York State before Christmas, when they run into trouble in Ohio, only to find something even better than they could have hoped for.

I really liked this story - it was my favorite of the bunch I read - and I thought the author did a fine job sprinkling the information about what happened into the plot progression without making it feel like info dump. I believed Kyle and Tobin's relationship, forged first out of sheer desperation and need, but it was clear rather quickly that the two genuinely loved each other.

Wreck the Halls
by Jessica Payseur

My rating:

This story used the enemies-to-lovers trope, pitting two restaurant owners against each other, with escalating sabotage on both MCs' parts, with both of them denying attraction and interest in the other, culminating in both of them driving away staff and customers alike.

There might be groveling at the end.

Good characterizations with a mostly plausible plot, and a lovely ending.

Trading Tridents
by C.M. Taylor

My rating:

This was mostly a letdown. I liked the theme of a YouTuber doing a cosplay Aquaman meeting a more famous actor also dressing up as Aquaman, and their hooking up, but the D/s part of the sexy times came completely out of left field and didn't work for me at all.

The lead-up to the meeting was well done. From there on, it went downhill fast.

Not a fave.

The Werewolf Before Christmas
by Charles Payseur

My rating:

Quirky, funny little story about super villains in love, with one of them arranging a Christmas surprise for the other, and unforeseen consequences.

I had fun reading it. Alec was hilarious, often unintentionally so, and his snarky inner monologue was highly amusing.

An Open Window by Rick R. Reed

My rating:

This was a sweet short story with a couple in love, reminiscing about how both their lives changed irrevocably one Christmas Eve twenty years ago.

This story is about the very real dangers of becoming homeless in the blink of an eye, and what that will do to a person, but also about never giving up and never losing hope. It's about trusting in the gifts you are given, and being thankful for what you received. It's about opening your heart, about compassion, and about finding love in unexpected places.

And first and foremost, it's about the wonder and joy of Christmas.

** The above short stories were all provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, happy reading!

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