Advent Calendar Novellas Reviews 1

When the chance came to review the novellas for the Heartwarming Advent Calendar they all looked so good that we decided to do our Nina and Beans joint reviews thing and talk about them all.  Some are longer and those get their own review space.  Some are shorter and those we are putting together into small bundles.   So bundle up, snuggle down, sip that eggnog and let’s find something great to read.

 

BashertTitle:  Bashert

Author:  Gale Stanley

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  48 pages

Rating:

Up All Night Satisfaction

Up All Night Satisfaction

 

Blurb:  Is it possible to be a good Jew and a gay man?

Not for Jonah Stern. He can’t reconcile his faith with his attraction to boys, so he turns his back on Judaism. A college scholarship is Jonah’s ticket to freedom from his disapproving parents. Next step: losing his virginity to Christian, the blue-eyed blond man of his dreams.

Instead, Jonah has a fateful meeting with Aaron Blumberg and ends up celebrating Hanukkah. Aaron tells him they’re bashert—meant to be. But Jonah has doubts. He believes his lack of faith will create a wedge between them. It’s up to Aaron to bridge the gap and convince Jonah to take a leap of faith.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

Reviews:

Beans:  It always makes me sad, either in fiction or in real life, when someone loses their faith because of a hate response. This story was no different. Jonah is young, hurt and grieving the loss of a close relationship with his family, his faith, and the life he has known forever.

He is fleeing everything he knows and is trying to find sex to ease some of the pain. He is busy searching for a good hookup when he sees someone in trouble.

I admired greatly that Jonah had the personal fortitude to stand up for Aaron when he was in distress. Then I greatly admired Aaron for recognizing Jonah’s pain, not downsizing it, but also not allowing it to decrease his joy of his faith.

It was a unique advent story. I loved the pursuit of Jonah, and the beautiful gift of a burgeoning friendship that could turn into more. Maybe even healing.

Nina:  Reconciling a devout faith that claims what your heart, mind and body say you need is wrong, would be terrible.  Add in parental rejection and a huge life change like attending university and a young man could find himself feeling very isolated and confused.

I was so glad that Jonah kept coming back to Aaron, that he allowed the yearnings to reconnect with his past and with this intriguing man to bring him once again to Aaron’s door night after night of the holiday celebrating hope and the bringing of light to guide his people.

Sweet, charming and hopeful I enjoyed this sweet story of Hanukkah and finding love and faith even when you have given up.

HolidayInvasionTitle:  Holiday Invasion

Author:  Elle Sommers

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  35 pages

Rating:

Triple Shot of Yum

Triple Shot of Yum

 

Blurb:  Lukas and Taylor are looking forward to Christmas with their two-month-old daughter. However, Taylor’s parents and Lukas’s siblings decide they shouldn’t be alone for the holiday and invade the house. Their intentions are good, but it changes Lukas and Taylor’s plans. So not only is Taylor learning the ropes on his new job, but his and Lucas’s once-quiet house is now overflowing with people, and not all of them get along. Their holiday might crash and burn if they can’t bring their families together.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

Reviews:

Beans:  A few years ago a story about two men raising their daughter would have been unheard of. I still have a soft spot for family stories. There is nothing better than seeing family being built.

That said, I was expecting something more. It was short and cute, but it lacked a certain level of development to make it great. I was expecting something to happen the whole time. Waiting…but nothing did. It just ended. Good on them that the only conflict in their lives was hoping they had enough blowup mattresses in the garage, but it made for a kind of boring story.

Nina:  A story about a sweet couple with an adorable baby and their family coming into town during the holidays.  I kept waiting for something to happen.  Nothing much really did.  It was a week or so in the life of this couple and I didn’t dislike it, I am just not sure what the point of the story was.

ScantySantaTitle:  Scanty Santa

Author:  Troy Storm

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  30 pages

Rating:

Already Forgot Single Shot

Already Forgot Single Shot

 

Blurb:  The holidays are looking anything but happy for Evan, whose partner skipped out and left him struggling to hold on to his suburban home. Up the street, an equally hard-working Sam is also hustling to hang onto his piece of real estate. Neither has met the other until neighborly Evan offers a desperate Sam—a scantily clad Santa—a ride to his late-night stripping gig on Christmas Eve. Can this one-off adventure turn into a mortgage love affair, or will they both be left with a sock full of coal come Christmas Day?

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming”.

Reviews:

Beans:  Dear bad porn industry, please flip to page 12 then 25 for your next script. It truly pains me to write this review…but there is nothing I liked about this novella. I feel as a reader of gay romance and all romance, to be honest that nothing on earth could shock me. I was wrong.

I was sixteen shades of red. Not even the most hardcore BDSM makes me blush in embarrassment anymore, but this novella had me dumbstruck. I went back and looked up the DSP theme of “Heartwarming” for the advent novella, just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating when I read this.

It was crude, it was stupid, it had words that don’t belong in a romance…like rambone. It wasn’t romantic, it was ridiculous. I don’t have a problem with the author writing whatever the hell he wants, but I have a serious problem pushing this as something other than smut. And bad smut at that.

Nina:  This was pretty cheesy.  I hate to call it erotica because I have read some excellently written erotica.  This was silly and the romance was on fast forward, I felt that everything happened very fast and with little to no reason.  A bit of fluffy smut.

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Posted on December 17, 2013, in Beans, Nina and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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