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❄ Christmas Delights (it’s a freebie!) ❄

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).

Christmas Delights

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

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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

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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.

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The Case of the Cupid Curse by R.J. Scott & Amber Kell

The End Street Agency series:

  • The Case of the Cupid Curse (book #1) – in this review
  • The Case of the Wicked Wolf (book #2)
  • The Case of the Dragon’s Dilemma (book #3)
  • The Case of the Sinful Santa (book #4)

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The Case Of The Cupid Curse (End Street Agency #1)The Case Of The Cupid Curse by R.J. Scott

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb..

Book 1 in The End Street Agency series written with Amber Kell.

Sam Enderson is a human detective who inherits a building from where his Uncle used to run a detective agency. He finds himself working for paranormal creatures despite his resolve to stick with humans only. To supplement his income as a new PI Sam rents out rooms in the large house.

Bob is a vampire and turns up on Sam’s doorstep to rent a room. Sparks fly and Sam is attracted to the vampire despite himself.

Sam is cursed by a witch, and has two cases landing on his desk. Werewolves, annoying ghosts and a grumpy gargoyle are enough to drive Sam mad. But somehow in amongst all of this he has to find a missing fae and a missing shifter child.

The End Street Agency introduces a world where paranormals pretty much keep away from humans but they can’t resist pulling Sam in when they find him on the edge of their territory. Everyone has their own agenda and it will be a while before they’re all sorted out.

So what did I think?

This book was so not what I was expecting! I was expecting the vampires and the witches and a bit of mystery as Sam takes over the detective agency. What I didn’t expect was the wonderful humour which was in bucketfuls!

Poor Sam, surrounded by talking gargoyles and mind-reading vampires, placed under love spells, taking jobs from werewolves and propositioned by other paranormals – things just weren’t working out the way he intented them.

I adored Bob, the vampire (with a name like Bob, how could you not?) and his interactions with Sam were hysterical, especially when he read Sam’s mind…
“Tall,skinny and blond, he ticked the boxes for Sam. Well, the old boxes. the one’s he had before he’d met Bob…
Damn, Did I think that?
He chanced a glance at Bob, who nodded back at him. Yep. Clearly he had thought that very thing.”

I was really surprised at the ending which seemed rather abrupt, probably compounded by the fact the ebook ended at 85%, but with so much unresolved it really encourages the reading of book 2!

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To find out more about R.J. Scott and her books visit her website.

To find out more about Amber Kell and her books visit her website.

Buy The Case of the Cupid Curse from Amazon.