Tag Archives: m/m romance

Book Review: To Linzer & to Cherish, by Jen Fitzgerald

I won an e-copy of Jen Fitgerald‘s To Linzer & to Cherish. I read it as part of this year’s Christmas Reading Challenge.
to linzer and to cherish

The town of Linzer, PA is all about Christmas and every other December holiday.

For Zane Rutledge, ‘Tis the Season… to be single?

Being dumped by his long-time boyfriend five months before Christmas, Zane can’t yet fathom a new relationship. Besides, he’s neck deep in holiday party prep and Christmas play rehearsals. Who’s got time?

For Simon Wickham, it’s looking like yet another blue, blue, blue, Blue Christmas…

Being alone at Christmas isn’t for the faint of heart, but, at this point, Simon’s a pro. Besides, he can’t seem to find someone who appreciates his sass, his chatter, and his bow ties. What’s not to like?

But Santa’s elves work in mysterious ways.

Find out how Benedict Cumberbatch, Hallmark movies, and bumble bees show Zane and Simon that Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.

my review

Meh. Meh in the sense of being neither very bad nor particularly good. The characters are sweet but the story is rushed, simple, and predictable.

I liked both Zane and Simon, but the reader doesn’t get to know them well (Zane especially). And as a pudgy person myself, I didn’t care for Simon’s seeming obsession with his weight in the beginning. (What’s an extra 15lbs to someone who is 6’2″? Not much, I image.) But I appreciated the families’ support and the characters mutual love of Hallmark movies, while living a Hallmark-like story-line felt meta in a satisfying sort of way.

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Come back tomorrow. I’ll be reviewing Bittersweets Christmas: Arvin & Tina, by Suzanne Jenkins.

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Book Review: The Problem With Mistletoe, by Kyle Baxter

I picked up a copy of Kyle Baxter‘s The Problem With Mistletoe last year. But I didn’t get around to reading it until this year and my Christmas Reading Challenge.
the problem with mistletoe

David Cooper did not believe in happily ever after—he thought he let his chance pass him by—between work, being a single father and planning a Christmas party for his mother’s charity his life is complicated enough. And then he has to ask Alex Capili, an old friend who just returned from the big city, to help run it. Spending weeks working closely together old feelings come up and David wonders if fairy tales really do come true.

Alex came home to help sell off his family’s restaurant, he was not looking for love. And happy endings only happen in movies. But nothing about this return trip home town is quite what he expected and David is still the best man he’s ever known. A good father, with a heart as big as all outdoors, and disarmingly handsome.

my review

I thought this was very cute, if a little unrealistic at times. I simply find it unlikely that two people who loved each-other as much as the two main characters (be it erotically, romantically or even just platonically) really would have walked away and remained without contact for 15 years. Conversely, I find it equally as unlikely that people who hadn’t so much as spoken in 15 years would so instantly fall back in step with one another. Having said that, once I decided to simply acknowledge it and forcefully suspend my disbelief on these matters I liked the characters and the slow burn. (Yes, it’s a second chance romance that also manages to be a slow-burn, go figure.) I liked Baxter’s use of color to symbolize Alex’s reawakening. I liked the side characters and the happy themes. I could have done without the evil jealous woman as the obligatory foe though. All in all, it’s very Hallmark Movie Channel sweet, but I liked it and will happily read book two (which I have).

the problem with mistletoe photo

Other Reviews:

Book 759: The Problem with Mistletoe (Five Points Stories #1) – Kyle Baxter

The Problem with Mistletoe – Book Review

Come back tomorrow. I’ll be reviewing To Linzer & to Cherish, by Jen Fitzgerald.

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Book Review: The Christmas Lights Battle, by Skylar M. Cates

I picked up a copy of The Christmas Light Battle, by Skylar M. Cates from Amazon on one of its freebie day. I read it as part of my Christmas Reading Challenge.
the christmas lights battle

For a single dad and his neighbor, the Christmas competition is on!

Julian Moss wants to give his children a happy Christmas. Since his divorce, Julian has no time for a social life; he’s been doing the tiring work of two parents while his cheating ex-husband dodges his responsibilities. If that isn’t stressful enough, he has to deal with his new—and ridiculously good-looking—neighbor and his noisy dogs. Christmas used to be Julian’s favorite holiday, but lately all he sees is the cost. Then Julian’s young son tells him about a Christmas lights competition with a much-needed prize.

Leo Adams is going to be alone for Christmas…again. All he’s ever wanted is to be accepted by his family, but he knows that will never happen. Deciding to focus on his career as a personal trainer, Leo develops a boot camp program on the beach, but he needs publicity. The lights competition offers Leo a way to get some free press, and if it annoys his snooty neighbor Julian—all the better.

The battle is on, and both Julian and Leo want to win. The stakes are high, the reward is great, and the neighbors are in it to win it. There’s nothing like a little competition to make Christmas at Shelby Beach extra merry and bright.

my review

On one hand, I thought this was super sweet. I liked both Leo and Julian. I liked that they healed one another and there was very little drama and/or angst between them. I appreciated the children and the presence of a supportive family and community. On the other hand, I thought there was some repetition and over-stressing of some elements. I think we’re told about a million times that Julian is a single parent and his children are the most important thing in his life, for example.

Additionally, I think I have to give one of my least favorite literary criticism here. I hate the dictate to show, not tell. Not because it’s wrong, but because it’s become so ubiquitous that it’s tossed out like confetti. But here I felt it’s truth. It seems like a lot of this book is told, instead of shown—especially in the beginning—and it created a distance between me (the reader) and the characters that didn’t need to be there.

Lastly, the ending felt a little rushed. Generally, however, I thought this a perfectly enjoyable Christmas romance.

the christmas light battle photo

Other Reviews:

Dogeared Day Dreams: Review Christmas Lights Battle

Recent Release Review: The Christmas Lights Battle by Skylar M. Cates

Come back this afternoon. I’ll be reviewing Dreaming Of a White Wolf Christmas, by Terry Spear and tomorrow, when I’ll be reviewing Solstice Surrender, by Tracy Cooper-Posey and Charley’s Christmas Wolf, by C.D. Gorri. Yep, I’ve started having to double up to fit all the reviews in by Chrismtas.