Friday, November 13, 2020

Review Tour: Gifts For The Season anthology


Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Length: 157,000 words

All proceeds donated to The Trevor Project - you can find out about the wonderful things they do here

RJ Scott - Single Dad Christmas - It would be a Christmas miracle if he loved me back.⁣⁣⁣
Annabeth Albert - Must Be Santa - Tis the season for Operation Christmas Papa!⁣⁣⁣
Joanna Chambers - The First Snow of Winter - Christmas Eve, 1814: a maimed war hero and the childhood friend he almost kissed five years earlier are trapped together by the first snow of winter⁣⁣⁣
Eli Easton - Twelve Days of UPS - What happens when your Secret Santa is less intriguing than the delivery man who brings the gifts?⁣⁣⁣
Suki Fleet - Sometimes, Always - When Echo’s Christmas Eve surprise for Peri goes a little sideways, it turns into a night they’ll both remember for the best reasons, for always.⁣⁣⁣
Lane Hayes - Out For The Holidays - Good Things Happen When You’re Out for the Holidays!⁣⁣⁣
Annabelle Jacobs - Driving Home For Christmas - A road trip, snowstorm, and only one big bed at the Inn…⁣⁣⁣
Alex Jane - Homestead for the Holidays - Alone in a cabin in snowy Nebraska for Christmas⁣⁣⁣
Amber Kell - A Santa for Trin - Everyone needs a bit of Christmas magic.⁣⁣⁣
Garrett Leigh - No Place Like Home - As long as they’re together, love always wins⁣⁣⁣
V.L. Locey - Dressed In Holiday Style - Can the spirit of Christmas save this budding love affair?⁣⁣⁣
Clare London - Five Gold Blings - Where Christmas sparkle leads two lonely hearts⁣⁣⁣
Posy Roberts - Sojourn For Christmas - This year, a place to stay is the best Christmas gift Sawyer could ask for.⁣⁣⁣
Felice Stevens - The Gift of Forever - What do you get the man who has everything?⁣⁣⁣
AE Via - An Unworthy Gift - What do the lonely do at Christmas?⁣⁣⁣

Karen's review:

When I saw this book my first thought was “oh it’s an anthology” an for whatever reason they’re not really my thing but then I saw RJ Scott’s name and…hey, this is author’s essentially an auto buy for me so I needed to look further and what I discovered was that this book is stuffed with several authors that are a guaranteed good read. Add to this the fact that proceeds for this anthology are being donated to ‘The Trevor Project’ and I decided that this was definitely worth investigating and I was all in. 

For those who may be wondering stories, appear here in the same order as they appear in the anthology…

An Unworthy Gift by AE Via  (4 stars)

The holidays are no time for anyone to be alone and yet so often people are. An unworthy gift if the tale of two men from different walks of life who each find themselves alone at the most wonderful time of the year. 

‘An Unworthy Gift’ was a wonderful start to these stories. I loved both Cole and Spencer and while their story was shorter than I would have liked for me it was filled with the magic of love and the holiday season. Definitely a sweet, enjoyable holiday read worth enjoying.

Out for the Holidays by Lane Hayes  (3 stars)

This story features Derek and Gabe from Ms Lane’s ‘Out in College’ series along with appearances by MCs from other stories in this series as well. 

While the story worked well as a standalone. I can easily imagine that what was an enjoyable read for me, having not read any of the stories in this series, will be a much loved holiday story for fans of this author and the ‘Out of College’ series.

Single Dad Christmas by RJ Scott  (3.5 stars)

‘Single Dad Christmas’ is set in the world of Ms Scott’s series ‘Single Dads’ however, the characters in this story have not been featured in a book of their own and there’s no strong connection to any of the books so far which allows this story to very easily be read as a standalone story. 

Even though we don’t get a peek at any of the characters from previous books I can honestly say I would love to have more about these two men and the adorable set of ‘triplets’ that bring them together. This one was an incredibly sweet story set during the Christmas holiday and filled with love.

Twelve Days of UPS by Eli Easton (4 stars)

Well that was adorable. This one was just so in keeping with the times…like ‘Love in the time of cholera’ keeping with the times. It was sweet, adorable and uplifting. I know some authors have opted not to write stories that reflect the current state of the world. But Ms Easton has not shied away from the world we are not living in with this story, and I have to say, I applaud her for not only going there but for reminding us that, in spite of everything, with faith and a bit of holiday magic there can still be some happy in the world. 

Must Be Santa by Annabeth Albert (4.5 stars)

For fans of Annabeth Albert and specifically her characters Teddy and Nick from the holiday story ‘Better Not Pout’ this one is a holiday treat. We get a chance to revisit Teddy and Nick and share in their first holiday as parents. It’s filled with the warmth and love of the holiday as Ms Albert shares a festive reminder of what really matters in this world with all of us because nothing makes a holiday merry and bright like family.

The First Snow of Winter by Joanna Chambers (4 stars)

In general, historical romance is not at the top of my reading list, however, without fail Joanna Chambers never fails to grab my attention and keep it with her stories of the past and ‘The First Snow of Winter’ has not changed this fact. 

Sam and Jasper have known each other since childhood and while their last parting almost ended with a kiss…a lot has changed since then. Ms Chambers has created a holiday story about second chances and new beginnings that will easily melt the reader’s heart.

Five Gold Blings by Clare London (4 stars)

Grey works as a deliveryman and he’s just trying to make it through to Christmas when he’ll get a break from his job and life in general…it hasn’t been a good year. Alec’s a vlogger who’s trying to get established and he depends on those parcels that Grey brings to help him do his job.

Grey and Alec for me were simply adorable and I loved these two as their lives slowly became intertwined thanks to the internet. Grey turned out to be a the Christmas present that Alec needed most and Alec helped Grey to once again feel the spirit of the season and share not just hope but his heart.

Sojourn for Christmas by Posy Roberts (3.5 stars)

‘Sojourn for Christmas’ introduces us to Sawyer, a university student who suddenly finds himself with no place to stay during the holidays until Gregg, the owner of the dog he walks and the sexy silver fox that Sawyer’s been attracted to since their first meeting insists that he stay with him.

I appreciated that this story brings us in at the beginning of this relationship rather than somewhere in the middle. It definitely allowed me to more easily become invested in Sawyer and Gregg’s budding relationship and I’m looking forward to finding what happens next between these two men.

Sometimes, Always by Suki Fleet (3.5 stars)

I really enjoyed this story so much that before I even took the time to add my thoughts here, I went off to the cyber bookstore to find ‘Sometimes There’s Stars’ which is the book that tells the story of how Echo & Peri first met and I honestly can’t wait to read it but wait I must. 

For me ‘Sometimes, Always’ will forever be my first meeting with Echo and Peri and what a wonderful holiday meeting it was. Filled with love, romance, dancing, their dearest friends and two delinquent dogs.

No Place Like Home by Garrett Leigh (3.5 stars)

Fans of Garrett Leigh’s ‘Roads’ series featuring Pete & Ash will love this gem. It’s a chance to spend a bit of the holidays with the boys. ‘No Place Like Home’ was a delightful holiday slice of life and I couldn’t help but remember how much I enjoyed this series, so much so that it’s bumped it’s way up on my ‘To Be Re-read’ list.

The Gift of Forever by Felice Stevens (3.5 stars)

‘The Gift of Forever’ is a sweet holiday interlude featuring ‘Frisco and Torre’ from Ms Stevens ‘Lost In New York’ series with glimpses of other characters from the series as well. While I enjoyed the story for the sweet Christmas vignette that it was. I think that this was once again a case of people who have read the series and are fans of these characters will enjoy it on a whole different level. However, for me it still worked well as a standalone story and I enjoyed reading it.

Dressed in Holiday Style by VL Locey (4.5 stars)

This was one of my favorite stories. It was fun and funny. Jakob French and Chet Wallace are both window dressers in New York who happen to work for stores that are not only right across the road from each other but are in direct competition and ironically they’ve never met…until Jakob decides that Chet has somehow stolen his idea for this year’s holiday windows. Jakob’s determined to vent his rage on Chet and what better way than a snowball fight? 

This one was a standalone story filled with the stress of the holiday along with the fun and the joy of the season. Something that we can all appreciate and relate to on some level.

Driving Home for Christmas by Annabelle Jacobs (4 stars)

‘Driving Home for Christmas’ is a standalone, friends to lovers’ story. Tom and Jared haven’t spoken in a few months and it seems like Christmas is truly a time for miracles when Tom comes across Jared shortly after his current boyfriend and ride home for the holidays unceremoniously dumps him at the first motorway service station he comes to. Awkward or not Jared’s more than happy to accept Tom’s offer of a ride giving the two men a chance to resolve their problems and make their holiday merry and bright. 

Seriously road trips at Christmastime what more could a girl want?

A Santa for Trin by Amber Kell (3 stars)

This one is a cute holiday story set in the world of Ms Kell’s ‘Moon Pack’ and while I had no problem understanding the story and most of the character relationships while I was reading it I also felt that I was missing a lot of background that would have added a lot to my enjoyment of the events contained in the story. 

So, for me not having read the previous books in this series (17 in total as well as 2 short stories) felt like a definite disadvantage.

Homestead for the Holidays by Alex Jane (4 stars)

‘Homestead for the Holidays’ is the 15th and final story in this anthology and like many of the preceding stories ‘Homestead for the Holidays’ is attached to a series. However, unlike some of the other stories, the characters in this story are a contemporary addition to the series so the connection between the series and this story doesn’t leave the reader feeling like there is background info that would have added to the overall enjoyment of the story. However, it did leave me with another series on my TBR list that I’m hoping to get the chance to read in the near future.

Closing comments…

‘Gifts for the Season’ gave me an early start to my holiday reading with a number of authors whom I’ve really come to enjoy over the years as well as some new choices. As always some stories worked better for me than others but overall this was an enjoyable collection of holiday cheer.


An ARC of ‘Gifts for the Season’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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