17 December 2014

Dreamspinner Advent Spotlight #5!

When Daniel Berrisford reluctantly agrees to accompany his best friend Kate to the New Year’s Eve celebrations in London, he doesn't expect to enjoy himself. Daniel is pleasantly surprised to see his first boyfriend, James Allison, among the merrymakers. The pair haven't seen each other for four years, but as they talk and midnight approaches, it becomes clear the spark between them is still there. The New Year is a time for new beginnings, and for Daniel and James, it might be the time to give love another chance. 
 A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package "Celebrate!".
This is a little story of two men who split up years ago because they weren’t ready to settle down and then find each other again on New Year’s Eve. Probably half of it is sex, but I really liked the relationship between the two men. For such a short story, the author still allowed us to get in touch with Daniel and feel for him, so him finding James was a highlight. That James was as interested as Daniel made it that much better.

When Jake takes his boyfriend Ian home to celebrate Christmas with his parents in the Finnish woods, Ian, a skeptic by nature who has to deny his preference for guys in front of his own family, is not only worried about the reaction of Jake’s family, but also about the feast itself—and the cold. However, within minutes, Jake’s parents make Ian feel warm, welcome, and at home, and begin to introduce him to their Christmas traditions.

The visit goes smoothly until Jake’s ex-girlfriend barges in and drops a bomb that shatters their peace and harmony—a tiny detail Jake failed to mention to his boyfriend. Angry and hurt, Ian struggles to let go of the past and focus on the blessings surrounding him.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package "Celebrate!".
This was a humorous story that was good, but it would have been better – in my opinion – if the author had kept the ex-fiancée angle out or had Ian not forgive Jake so easily. It did make me think – if Jake could hide that, what else hadn’t he told? But, still, even with that, I really enjoyed the story – from Ian’s freaking out over the animals in the barn to his mistrust of the reindeer. A charming story.

Last year in England, Australian Ethan Harvey not only met his “perfect” man in Tristan Lewin-Jones, Ethan shared a wonderful Christmas with Tristan’s “perfect” family—an ideal British holiday full of genteel good cheer and all the traditional trimmings.

Now Tris and Ethan are living in Sydney, and Tris wants the quintessential Australian beach Christmas, with sun, sand, surf, seafood… and the Harveys. But Ethan didn’t mention the Harveys are politically incorrect, rude, crude, and loud. He worries his family will drive Tris away. Giving Tris the perfect beach Christmas with the imperfect Harveys is going to take a holiday miracle.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package "Celebrate!".
Absolutely the most humorous story so far of the advent stories. I found myself having to cover my mouth to try not to laugh too loudly as I read through it. The Harveys – Ethan’s family – are, well, kind of crazy. LOL The first part of the story is about Ethan trying to find a way to not take his boyfriend to meet them, but when Tris plays the ‘are you trying to hide me’ card, he feels he has to. And thus the absolutely hilarious drama unfolds. I can’t tell you what happened, because honestly you should get the full guffaws yourself as you read this, but hearing how Ethan and his sister describe former Harvey Christmases and then seeing it played out was just so much fun. I can hardly wait to read it again.
A definite 5 stars and I’ll be looking for more from J.J. Carroll.

Duncan is an ocean from home over the holidays and expects to spend them alone. To his pleasant surprise, one of his European co-workers, Georg, befriends him and includes Duncan in the holiday traditions of his homeland: cutting a Christmas tree under starry skies at Georg’s country estate, decorating it at the family’s city home, and shopping at the Christmas market in Munich. Both men are lonely and realize they have much in common. But Georg’s life is in Germany and Duncan’s is in Boston. With the project they’re working on nearing completion, any chance for more than a holiday fling seems as elusive as stardust.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package "Celebrate!".
That Stardust was amazing does not surprise me. Andrew Grey consistently delivers quality. It was well-written, captivating, and I fell in love with both Duncan and Georg. Duncan, the lonely American overseas, whose only experience of ‘love’ was not good. And Georg, the count who was tired of people wanting to be with him just for his title. Their chemistry was sweet, their sex scenes nice and not lurid – which fit the characters perfectly. When you add in the wonderful gifts the two exchanged at the end of the book? Please, Mr. Grey, can we have some more?
Nice start to a story, 3 ½
This is a novella about 48 pages, about an Astronautical engineer named Duncan and his German liaison Georg. Duncan is over from American to oversee a mirror being made by Georg’s company. This mirror is going into a new generation space telescope. Georg invites Duncan out to lunch and from there they soon discover they have more in common than work.  Over the next few weeks, Georg takes Duncan around the area of Germany they are in and they start a sexual relationship. Duncan moves out of his hotel and in with him. The whole time they both know Duncan must go back to America.
This story had a lot of good points; I loved the way that Duncan broke down the fine points of the universe and stardust, very romantic. I enjoyed the way they both knew that the relationship had an end date but still forged on and gave it their all. I wish we had more detailed descriptions of the area’s they were visiting and or the festivals. I would have felt more vested in the story and their relationship. I also wish we had a better ending; maybe this will lead to a full length novel? 
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Orpheus “O” Drummond, a recent Ph.D. graduate, is visiting Australia after defending his thesis, and being dumped by his boyfriend. While alone on the beach in Australia was not how he’d originally planned on spending his Christmas, when O runs into Gage, he figures Santa knew exactly what he was doing.

Gage is traveling away from his Texan home, trying to “find himself.” When he finds O instead, he doesn’t think things could have worked out better. Together Gage and O celebrate Christmas in the best way they can think of.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calendar package Celebrate!
A very disappointing story. I guess I expect romance from Dreamspinner and this book I would classify as erotica not erotic romance. 90% of the story is sex. I actually would have liked to get to know O and Gage a bit more. Instead, it was just the same old sex scenes I’ve read before, played out into infinitum. 


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