Today’s Christmas reviews are from two of the short stories in the Christmas Delights anthology. It’s a wonderful collection of stories and is available for free from Love Lane Books (Love Lane Books Christmas Anthology 2013).
As promised, I’ve accompanied each review with a matching carol. The stories in this review are:
- Gifts from the Tree by Kay Berrisford
- Christmas in Hawaii by Valynda King
Gifts from the Tree by Kay Berrisford
Accompanied by: O Christmas Tree (Aretha Franklin style)
The Blurb: When Phin deserts James on Christmas Eve, offering vague excuses, James is left wondering how well he knows the man he’s been seeing. Phin, an expert on forest mythology, clearly has secrets, which doesn’t make James feel any better as he faces Christmas alone. But when an attempt to collect a Christmas tree takes a strange and magical turn, James finds out the supernatural happenings in the woods and Phin’s absence could be linked.
So what did I think? Totally unique, for me at least as I’ve never read anything like it. I mean tree shifters wouldn’t usually be my story of choice! I definitely don’t think I’ll be looking at my Christmas tree the same! 🙂 This is a sweet story of two lecturers. James is a bookworm and Phin is his crush. They are just starting a relationship when Phin says he can’t spend Christmas Eve with James as planned. James’ night starts out lonely before strange things start to happen when James heads out to cut down a tree. Let’s just say it gives new meaning to ‘popping wood’ as James is protected by a strange forest warden and ends up spending a very unexpected Christmas! “He’d gone mad. Or he was dead. Or his would-be boyfriend had just shifted from the form of an oak back into a devastatingly handsome human with a massive hard-on.“ 3.5 stars
Christmas in Hawaii by Valynda King
Accompanied by: Mele Kalikimaka (Jimmy Buffett version)
The Blurb: River is a mess, well so he thinks. He has OCD and Agoraphobia, disorders he has been learning to deal with since he was a kid. Now as an adult and years of hard work and therapy he has a job working from home as a trouble shooter for a technology company. Everything seemed fine until a new owner bought the company and his world tilted on it’s axis. Now he’s on a plane heading to Hawaii just before Christmas. His anxiety is through the roof on the verge of a panic attack and the only light at the end of this tunnel is the Adonis sitting a few rows back and knowing he was finally going to meet Coolidge.
So what did I think? At the risk of making myself seem like a very uncaring person, I was actually put off when I first realised that one of the MCs had OCD. I’ve seen these things handled poorly in the past and worried it would make it hard for me to like the character of River. But I shouldn’t have worried! The OCD was handled with realism (no pulling punches, River did the whole counting repetitive thing) but was beautifully accepted by Coolidge who was so understanding, earning River’s honesty and trust. Loved the characters names – Cool and River – can’t get much cooler than that! Plus I loved that the guys were physically attracted from first sight but it becomes clear that they know a lot more about each other than first thought and their attraction is more than just hot sex. “You’re the guy that I can talk to when I am happy or angry. You’re the guy I can talk to about anything and you keep my secrets. And you’re the guy I think about before I go to sleep. I know you, River, and now I know even more and it doesn’t change a thing.“ So romantic! 4 stars.