Monday, December 30, 2019

ARC Review: Homemade for the Holidays (4 stories)

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've read 4 stories from this collection of shorts. Below are my reviews.

Notes From Home by Dirk Greyson

Ky's rating:

While Johnny is overseas and missing his new boyfriend he mysteriously keeps getting letters from him, delivered every three days. The weird part is that there is no way for mail to reach him where he is and there's no contact with the outside world that doesn't have to do with their mission.

It's a sweet story with a happy ending, some very generous teammates and an excited puppy. The setting is very promising and I'd love to see a full novel about this couple.

Santa's Little Library by Jana Denardo

Ky's rating:

I tend to stay away from holiday stories because they always seem so rushed so I was glad to find one where the MCs were an established couple.

In Santa's Little Library, committed couple Caleb and Quinn are trying to find the perfect gifts to celebrate their first Christmas as a married couple. It was sweet to see how anxious Caleb got over what present to get for his husband. His decision is not really a surprise considering the title, but it was still nice to see.

This is a short story about the festive season of a newly married couple, no drama, no angst, no tears. It's the perfect relaxing read for a mellow feel-good afternoon.

A Graphically Designed Holiday by Ren Holly

Ky's rating:

Eli and Lincoln are best friends but Eli wouldn't say no to being more than that. His feelings are about to get tested though as Lincoln is determined to find a boyfriend with the help of his friend.

When Lincoln asks for Eli's help with his online dating profile, Eli reluctantly agrees thinking that at least they'll spend a lot of time together. The whole process seemed a bit too much to me, like they were making a site for a professional model or something. They had photo sessions in different settings, they had sessions about which font to use or what color should be in the background and they gave a lot of though in what would be written in the "about me" section.

Of course, all that contributed to them spending time together, which was Eli's purpose, but it still seemed extreme. I wasn't very happy with this short but I did enjoy the friendship between Eli and Lincoln.

An Elf to Myself by Emy Calirel

Ky's rating:

Wilhelm and Alabastair met in a mall and ended up with Wilhelm offering his couch to Alabastair for a few days. Alabastair had just been kicked out of his town and was missing his family, didn't know what to do next or where to go, so Wilhelm decided to take him in and help him start his new life.

I got confused about Albastair's hometown at first and couldn't determine if he was serious or not, if the story was contemporary or also had some magic in it. It turns out it's contemporary with a sprinke of magic to celebrate the season.

The MCs went from strangers to a couple awefully fast and the declarations weren't far off. That insta-love and insta-relationship aspect is the reason I can't deal with stories like this one. It's clear that this story wasn't for me, but if you like cute, romantic stories with some extra sugar on top then this one should make you very happy!

*ARCs of these four books were kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. *

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