Tuesday, December 5, 2017

ARC Review: 2017 DSP Advent Calendar by Various Authors (Part 2)

Stocking Stuffers (2017 Advent Calendar)
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.

Jewel's ratings and reviews:

New Game, Start, by C.S. Poe
~3.5 Stars~

New Game, Start is my favorite of the five stories I read from Stocking Stuffers. I'm a gamer and a geek and I love that the MC's were both geeks.

Walter is a professional gamer with a whole lot of subscribers to watch him stream his games. Nice gig, if you can get it. Edgar is a medieval scholar and translator and he is crushing hard on Walter. A spur of the moment tweet and then meeting on Skype is the start to something meaningful.

Walter did come on a bit strong, truth be told, and the time frame is short and rather insta. However, I am going to forgive that because I liked the story a lot. I liked both MC's and the gamer aspect, plus we get a sex scene!

Like many of the short stories I read, I'd love to see them expanded into full length novels, so that there was adequate time for relationship and story development. Even still, I think CS Poe did a fantastic job on this one for it being so short.

Homemade from the Heart, by Bru Baker
~3 Stars~

Homemade from the Heart was an absolute delight to read. I would love to see this short turned into a full length novel, or something, because some more time for Josh and Grant to develope a relationship - including alone time, would make this story perfection.

This Christmas short is about a craft store owner, Grant, deciding to do some private craft lessons for seven year old Aubrey when she and Josh (designated Hot Divorced Dad in Grant's mind) come in seeking to join a class that is already full.

The story is told from Grant's POV and we get to see how awesome Grant is at teaching kids crafts as well as some naughty innuendo that goes right over a seven year old's head. She's a crafty one, that Aubrey, and should never be underestimated. I often shy away from stories with children in them, but I adored her.

Homemade from the Heart is a feel-good, warm-fuzzy kind of story that is sure to get you in the christmas spirit.

The Last Gift, by Chrissy Munder
~3 Stars~

The Last Gift was a fun little story about making a connection in the unlikeliest of places.

Nick Reed works hard at two jobs and goes to school full time. He barely has time for a date, much less a relationship. In fact, a relationship isn't even on his radar, right now because he barely even sleeps. But that was before Aaron Hampton, a hot young lawyer, comes in and charms his way into Nick's thoughts -- and fantasies.

I enjoyed this short story because sometimes the person for you does just show up out of the blue. I liked that Aaron came in every day and interacted with Nick and I liked the 5k race and I loved the ending. The Last Gift was a charming little Christmas short.

The Mature Man's Guide to Surviving Change, by Chris Scully
~2 Stars~

The Mature Man's Guide to Surviving Change had so much promise. Both MC's are in their early to mid 50's, which I loved. So many romance stories are about people in their 20's that it's easy to forget that life doesn't stop at 30. If you're lucky, anyway.

Perry's husband of 15 years passed away two years ago and he's finally feeling ready to think about dating again. Joel, who was Perry's husband's best friend, has been Perry's rock for the past two years. Truthfully, they were each other's rock. And I liked that. The set up had so much promise that I was looking forward to them finding their happy.

However, Joel, who has been attracted to Perry since they met, and in love with Perry for a while now, just killed it for me. He wouldn't tell Perry how he felt, even though Perry practically set up a flashing billboard in Joel's living room expressing his interest. Perry could not have been more obvious, and yet Joel Would. Not. Act. In fact, he kept pushing Perry away.

I liked both MC's, I did, but Joel frustrated me so much, and I don't even feel like I got a pay off, because the story ended so abruptly.

Sadly, The Mature Man's Guide to Surviving Change is not one I would recommend.

Hope Is the Thing with Feathers, by Brandon Witt
~3 Stars~

Hope Is the Thing With Feathers is my first Brandon Witt story, if you can believe that. I'm not sure how I've managed that, but there it is. This is also one of the few stories I've read with older characters. The MC's are 56 and 67. I like this! Love isn't just for the young! And it's never too late to find it.

Samuel Phillips is pretty set in his ways and loves all the solitude he gets by living out in the middle on nowhere. Well, except the one neighbor he has whose presence Samuel finds annoying. Not because he knows the guy, but because Samuel has decided he doesn't need companionship.

Raymond Webber inherited his house from his biggoted old uncle. Raymond is a bit eccentric and makes magic brownies and wants to live off the grid. He's older and flirty and, much to Samuel's chagrin, amusing. Raymond is also very inappropriate and I kind of loved that.

After an extremely awkward first meeting, they dance around each other until Samuel figures out he actually wants more than his animals for company.

I enjoyed this short, in spite of the touch of insta. I love Witt's writing style, and the landscape he painted with his words.


ARCs for the above five stories from the Stocking Stuffers (2017 Advent Calendar) were generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

For individual story blurbs and to order, visit:

Happy reading!

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