13 December 2014

Dreamspinner Advent 2014 Spotlight #3!

Although Rowan Stormbringer was raised Wiccan, he’s never felt a connection to magic. That changes on the eve of Yule, when he encounters a magical creature, a phoenix, that needs his help getting to Stonehenge before the sun sets that day. Hiding a magical creature in the mortal world is tricky at best, but partnering with a good-looking, snarky taxi driver may be just the ticket Rowan needs. As they explore their instant attraction to each other, Rowan and Martin must learn to trust one another if they hope to deliver the phoenix home in time.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package "Celebrate!".

Another cute story – I love that this story brought in Wicca – though the relationship between the two men seemed forced. At the beginning I thought maybe the magic of the phoenix had brought it all about, but after that, their conversations didn’t make their attraction and their sudden desire to go find a B&B make sense. It was more like, okay take two men, put them together and they will want to have sex. Still cute, but it didn’t do much for me.
Dr. Gareth Evans and his medical doctor partner, Warun Jones, are having trouble making time for each other between end of term craziness for Gareth and holiday-related injuries pouring into the hospital for Warun. Gareth has planned what he hopes will be the perfect recipe for relieving the tension and bringing them back together. While Warun wants Gareth to partake in Plygain, a traditional dawn service of hymn singing for Christmas, Gareth plans to take Warun to Bryn Celli Ddu and introduce him to the Druid ritual of Alban Arthan, the celebration of the winter solstice.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package "Celebrate!".
Okay, I absolutely loved this story. Part of it is my life-long fascination with Wales and part is that I love the celebration of the solstice. Add in that the author did a spectacular job with the two characters, the language – I really do love Welsh. In what other language can you have whole words with no vowels? – and the sweet love story of two men who have been together for quite a while and needed to reconnect? Definitely a winner.
I just wish the author would have described to us the stories that Gareth told Warun while they waited for the sun to come up. I would have loved to hear them :)

Nick, a bartender, and Ben, a hotel reviewer, have been together two years. Though he hates the paperwork involved, Nick agrees to accompany Ben to a beautiful lodge on the Mozambican side of Lake Malawi. Over a bottle of wine, they trade Christmas horror stories from their pasts. But memories of hurt and loss only serve to remind them how lucky they are to have found each other. It might be time to try out the showerhead built into the tree outside….

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package "Celebrate!".
This was a very cute story. Not a lot of weight, but for the length, definitely cute. The blurb basically says it all.

American Walsh Brandt is happy when a promotion lands him his dream job and a quiet new life in Germany. Until December rolls around, when he realizes it’s almost impossible to hide from the holiday season in Germany.

Dierck Reiniger is fascinated by Walsh’s hatred of Christmas and makes it his personal mission to help Walsh enjoy Weihnachten and the German traditions he grew up with. Walsh has a great time getting to know Dierck—but he still isn’t sold on Christmas, despite Dierck's efforts. Dierck's on the rebound, and he's determined to develop their physical relationship slowly, much to Walsh's frustration. It isn’t until they’re alone in a secluded cabin—hiding from the traditional trappings—that Walsh finally recognizes what the magic of the season can bring when spent with someone special.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package "Celebrate!".
Absolutely charming tale. Walsh wants nothing to do with Christmas. Only, he is now living in a town where everyone celebrates it every day of December. Kind of hard to keep away from. Especially when a new guy catches his eye and drags him to celebration after celebration. I loved this story. They didn’t just jump into bed with one another. Instead, it was a slow buildup of their relationship. For a short story, I think going from one point of view is a great way to do it. It allowed me, the reader, to really get to know Walsh – and see our similarities.
A definite ‘should read’ out of this collection.
Loved this tale, 5 rainbows
We start the tale at the last Saturday in November with Walsh, an American transplant living in Mannheim Germany. He’s been living there for six plus months and so far enjoying it. He had a pretty bad childhood and him and his mother never celebrated the holidays, including Christmas. And as an adult he’s kept up with that tradition. As Walsh walks to the local market he notices that the town has gone Holiday crazy, which puts him in a foul mood. After getting his favorite coffee, but not being able to sit he walks right into a tall, board hunk of a man and spills coffee all over him. Dierck, seems perfectly fine with this turn of events and asks Walsh to have more coffee. Two hours later they have started a wonderful friendship. As the weeks go on Walsh and Dierck become closer but don’t cross that step that takes them beyond friends and Walsh gets worried that Dierck is using him as a holiday friendship because he misses his family and once the season is over so are they.
So many wonderful things about this tale, if you haven’t spent any time in Germany this author does a wonderful job describing a snippet of a holiday that is special for them. Not just in the Mannheim area. At one point I wanted to stop reading and make my own Gluhwein (Mulled wine) to drink along with the two MC’s. I enjoyed the way we had a slow build throughout the story, just a bunch of dates. Some misunderstandings, just like a couple starting out. I will looking for more from this author.

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A wasting plague swept over the Four Quadrants, changing how folks view the traveling guilds. Most travelers now make permanent contracts and settle in villages instead of continuing on the road. Needing to alter his lifestyle, Kerryll MacGhylle rides deep into the Northern Quadrant in search of a place to belong.

The Northern Duke, Cullan Gryffyn D'Antuono, accepts the contract of the frozen minstrel arriving during a powerful ice blizzard. He nurses Kerryll through the ravages of the sickness. Though they live at opposite ends of society, they have more in common than they realize.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package Celebrate!
Minstrels Solstice isn’t my type of story. It was well-written and flowed, but it was impossible to get to know the characters in such a short span of time. I knew names but couldn’t really connect with them emotionally. There wasn’t much description really of what people looked like so I couldn’t even imagine them in my head. Added to that, the Duke and the Minstrel had only known one another for 24 hours – of which half of that the minstrel had been too ill to talk, and suddenly they want to be together forever? Not my thing. 


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