Homemade for the Holidays Book Cover Homemade for the Holidays
Advent 2019
Sam Burns, Emy Calirel, Daniel de Lorne, Cassie Decker, Jana Denardo, Jayce Ellis, Kim Fielding, Elinor Gray, Crystel Greene, Andrew Grey, Dirk Greyson, Pat Henshaw, Ren Holly, Asta Idonea, Morgan James, Kim Katil, Jon Keys, Tara Lain, Kassandra Lea, L.A. Merrill, R.L. Merrill, Jenn Moffatt, Chrissy Munder, TJ Nichols, A. Nybo, Carol Pedroso, C.S. Poe, Liv Rancourt, E.J. Russell, B.G. Thomas
Dreamspinner Press
December 1, 2019

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.

 

Reviews by Sharonica, Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

Flour, Eggs, Sugar, & Magic – Daniel de Lorne 4 **** Stars
This cute holiday story was packed with magic, mayhem, and “mean cookies.”

One should never attempt to infuse luck, health, and love magic into baked goods while thinking negative thoughts about an ex. The outcome could/ can be catastrophic and end in tragedy. As magic novice, Will discovered after his roommate, Lucas, ate three of his magically mean cookies. The cookies were made for the LGBTQ+ kids shelter. Will thought if anyone deserved some extra doses of love, luck, and health it was those youth.

Lucas who always seemed to Will to be a walking lucky rabbit’s foot suddenly found himself on the opposite end of the spectrum with accidents happening one after another. Past hookups and exes coming out of the woodwork and his health declining by the second. Time is quickly running out and Will must dig deep in his heart beyond his own hurts in order to believe enough in his magic and in Lucas before Lucas is lost to the curse.

This is fast paced, with engaging characters. Perfect story for the season. I recommend for anyone who loves a good Holiday quickie!

Rainbows in Sea Glass..Kim Katil. 4.50*****Stars
Kyle & James

This is a delightful holiday story. It is filled with love, love of family and friends who are as close as family. There was a Saint Nicholas tradition I wasn’t aware of, so I look forward to researching that. Time spent at a beach cottage taking gorgeous pictures and collecting sea glass for a Saint Nicholas Day gift. In addition time kindling a romance from the sparks ignited in youth. The perfect recipe, for a delicious read.

The main MCs, James and Kyle grew up together. Kyle the best friend of James’ younger sister, always had a crush on James. He knew James would never reciprocate because James never stayed with anyone too long and Kyle would never jeopardize his place in James’ family. So, he kept his heart and crush hidden away… until James realized Kyle was the man he wanted all along.

This truly was a sweet read and the author wrote the story so beautifully that you finish it feeling full and satisfied, just as if you’d read a full novel.

Silver & Solstice.. TJ Nichols….4****Stars
Calvin & Rafe

In this magical realm filled with elves, humans, and cat shifters it is the shifters who are considered “less than,” by society. Because of this Calvin finds himself in the wrong side of the law thinking he is taking a job on Solstice to save his lover, Rafe, an elven princeling.

This was superb as short stories go. Excellent world building, characters, and plot. If I had one Solstice wish, it would be to see this as a fully realized novel!

A Swants Soiree..ER Russell,..5*****Stars

Jonathan & Brent

Nothing says meet-cute like scrounging for ugly sweaters, at Goodwill and meeting Mister Adorable who saves your backside… Literally and figuratively!

(I think the author may be obsessed with marine life! As in fish, not the men! Well, perhaps the men too, but I digress. Hahaha… Lots of references to sharks, piranha, and something about fishy legs I think? **giggle… I love it!) And all the geek banter is so smart and funny I may now have a teensy crush on this (new to me) author. **sigh…

When a coding geek (Brent) meets a theater geek (Jonathan) and the two connect over a turning an ugly Crimbo sweater into a pair of wearable pants, fashionably called, Swants you know the only outcome can be an Adorkable one.

I giggled, chuckled, and silently applauded all the creative references to Star Wars & Star Trek. Loved the silly and clever banter between characters. I adored Riki, Brent’s co-worker, and would bet money she is a secret super hero. She just has THAT sassy-cool vibe.

This was my first EJ Russell, but I am heading to fill my TBR as soon as I finish this!

Read it, people! Embrace the funny that is, “Sixty-nine Santa!”

Finding Yuletide Karol .. LA Merrill.. 4.5 *****Stars

“He fell in love over sun cakes and kindness”
Lee & Karol

This story was beautiful and tragic. The Author did an amazing job telling the story from Lee’s point of view. LA Merrill gave the reader flashbacks from fifty years ago, where a much younger Lee fell in love with a cook while serving his country on the other side of the world.

Not gonna lie, people…this one shredded my guts a little. A lot of that has to do with my age, I think, as I am closer in age to Lee than most of the other characters in the story. I found Lee and Karol quite relatable and I have a feeling I will be thinking of them and their love for each other for a while. I love when a story can do that…don’t you?

Much like the witches in the story, I too believe everything happens for a reason.

The Fairy Shop…Tara Lain….5*****Stars

Nate & Asher
This heartwarming story had all the feels! More than a romance it showed the heart and soul of everyday people. A single dad helping his five year old daughter work through post traumatic stress; while he tries to have a semblance of a social life. A little girl who wants desperately to be brave and wise; who also steals the heart of anyone around her. A giant of a man with a spirit as gentle as a stream; and a heart as big as Texas.

Together these men and the little princess find everything they need to be whole again inside a magical place called the Fairy Shop.

Oh man as I read this, I could see it being played out as a movie on the Hallmark Channel. It has that something extra that people are drawn to this time of year. That something that makes you want to be a better neighbor, and friend. It was good…so so good! It had me smiling both inside and out and I may have gotten misty eyed in a couple of places, but it could have also just been a speck of dust in my eye…TWICE or THREE TIMES!

I recommend this to anyone who loves magical holiday stories, and to anyone who needs help finding their holiday spirit. It will honestly make your soul shine with happiness.

An Elf to Myself…. Emy Calirel 4.5*****Stars
Alabastair & Wilhelm

An excommunicated elf with a heart of gold and a dirty mind. An inept crafter albeit successful construction business owner, on a mission to make a homemade gift for his four year old niece…THREE DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS! This may end like a glitter bomb of epic proportions or the two could blend as smoothly together as chocolate and peanut butter in a batch of buckeyes.

I fell in love with this author’s writing when I read, “From Brussels, With Love.” Calirel is also the only author I chose to read and review for this advent anthology that I was already familiar with. When her name popped up I snatched faster than greedy hands at Wal-Mart on Black Friday!

This story was so cute and chuckle worthy. The back and forth banter between Al and Wilhelm was so funny and even naughty at times. It also had sweet moments as the two men shared their darkest moments and grew closer.

There are no explicit scenes, just lots of naughty and nice one liners.
“Elves create toys, sugar. Who do you think came up with the sex ones?” ~ Al

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