Friday, December 20, 2019

ARC Review: DSP Advent Calendar 2019: Homemade for the Holidays

From The Blurb:
Choosing the right gift for that special someone can be the most daunting part of the holidays. In a sea of mass-produced items, why buy when you can DIY? The end-of-the-year festivities are the best time for crafts, whether they’re made from yarn, paper, flour, or even code. And with some love and luck, these special presents might inspire a romance that lasts an evening… or a lifetime. Nothing makes the season merry and bright like a gift handmade from the heart, and to bring smiles to the faces of the ones they care about, these guys are willing to get creative.

I'm back with more Christmas stories from DSP’s 2019 Homemade for the Holidays collection. The one thing that all of these stories had in common for me is that they are all written by new to me authors and overall these stories are filled with a sweet promise of love and something more. So if you’re looking for lots something that offers love and the promise of something more than you may want to check these out.

Below is my rating for each story along with a brief review… 



The Great Aerodynamicist by A. Nybo 

Karen’s rating: 3.5 stars 

Making a model steamship flying machine shouldn’t have been so hard…or maybe just less embarrassing. Donnell’s almost got his nephew’s Christmas present done when things go sideways… horribly embarrassingly sideways but I think even Donnell will concede that in the end it was all worthwhile.

This was one of those stories that while you’re reading it you can’t help but think ‘this could never happen.’ but sad to say, it not only could but probably has and more than once. I enjoyed this sweet and often times amusing foray into the world of freaky mishaps that lead to the unexpected…love.

A. Nybo has created the kind of holiday story that I enjoy…it’s sweet and entertaining and leaves the reader smiling. My only real complaint is that I would have liked a bit more story after Donnell and Charlie actually got together because everything that came before was just so freakin’ cute and entertaining how could I possibly have wanted it to stop there?


Evan Versus the Sharlotka by Chrissy Munder 

Karen’s rating: 3.5 stars 

And the holiday sweetness continues…in more ways than one. Tech support Evan Carmichael has developed a crush on Programming supervisor Gavrill Cottan and opportunity knocks in the form of the holiday office potluck lucheon Evan decides that it’s time to make his move and he’s up to the challenge…I mean how hard could it possibly be for someone who doesn’t cook much less bake to make an apple sharlotka…Gavrill’s favorite dessert. It’s only 6 ingredients…he’s got this, right?


I was so enchanted by Evan’s determination and I have to admit as someone who’s a fairly competent cook and has been known to bake a yummy treat from time to time. I more than appreciated Evan’s culinary endeavors…ok, I might have laughed a little but in the end I was cheering for him and in my heart I just knew that Gavrill wouldn’t be able to resist someone who was willing to go to such lengths to win his heart…I know I wouldn’t have been able to. This one’s another sweet holiday winner that again while the story was complete it still left me wanting more Evan and Gavrill.

A Peace Offering by R.L. Merrill 

Karen’s rating: 4 stars 

While the previous two stories were very enjoyable for me Dover and Landry were the absolute winners of this round of holiday stories and no, it’s not really a competition. This one just ended up being my favorite story from these 3.

Dover’s been selling his handcrafted wares at the Dickens Fair in San Francisco for over twenty years and he’s definitely got a stronger affinity for Ebenezer than some of Dickens’s other characters and he’s not had a problem with that until now…until Landry the open and friendly soul who makes corsets and lands in the booth next to Dover.

Landry thinks Dover’s beautiful and Dover doesn’t possibly see what someone like Landry would see in him so it’s up to Landry to show Dover that what he sees is a world of opportunity for them both…a chance for a little holiday magic to bring these two together…but it may take a Christmas or two.

I simply loved this one. Watching Landry break through the barriers that Dover’s built around his heart was at times cute and humorous and at other times it was equally sad and frustrating as Landry’s efforts were thwarted by insecurities…Dover’s and miscommunication…Landry’s and Dover’s.

While this one was considerably longer than the previous two…I’m greedy and I still would have liked a bit more time with Dover and Landry but all in all the story was complete and I very much enjoyed it.


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Copies of stories from ‘Homemade for the Holidays’ were graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.





Get the complete anthology:







Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)







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