December's Happy Hour Chat book is The Christmas Throwaway by RJ Scott.
Audrey: Okay, guys, no more talking about furries and Viking porn! Let's talk about.....The Christmas Throwaway!
Natasha: okay... other talk later... after!
Justin: Crack that whip Audrey
Audrey: *cracks the whip* ;) What did we all think?
Natasha: Oooohhh audrey the dominatrix! *wanders over near*
ann: loved it!
Breann: I really liked it, too. it tugged at my heartstrings.
Jenni Lea: me too
Quick copy/paste of the blurb!
Christmas is a time for giving - what do you do when no one gives a damn?
For Zachary Weston Christmas means sleeping on a churchyard bench in the freezing snow with nothing better in his future. Thrown out of his home for being gay, he is left without money or, it seems, anywhere to go.
Until a stranger shows him that some people do give a lot more than a damn.
Ben Hamilton is a rookie cop in his small home town. He finds a young throwaway, fresh from the city, sleeping on a bench in the churchyard on a snowy Christmas Eve. Can he be the one to give Zachary his own Christmas miracle?
Natasha: yes my heart was all aghast with emotion
ann: I want to make a hallmark channel division of the UM production company to make this into a movie
Audrey: Ann, I'd be so on board with that. Flufftastic sweetness. *sighs a smoopy sigh*
Breann: It would be a perfect hallmark movie!
Want to read more of our holiday chat, including why this story had some of us in tears, why we'd cast one of our unicorns as one of the characters, and whose dick we want to punch? Check it out after the jump!
Heyyyyyy! Thanks for joining us for the holiday Happy Hour Chat. Happy unipornian holidays to you and yours!
*passes you some eggnog, spiced cider, and minty hot chocolate* Take your pick of beverage, snuggle up by the fire, and check out what the Unicorn Mafia thought of RJ Scott's The Christmas Throwaway.
(Warning: This chat contains some spoilers!)
Jenni Lea: I liked it too although it took me a bit to get into
Sunny: The story idea was really sweet, but I couldn't get past the structure.
Breann: The romance was not all that believable but it was all so cute that I didn't even care
Jo: You read it and I think the impact I had more was from knowing this is a prettier version to reality...reality is T.A. Webb and Natasha's grandmother
Lorix: As I was reading I thought it wouldn't appeal to you or Natasha, SRAL - I was wrong about Natasha though, wasn't I!
SRAL: *shrugs* It's okay...believable? Not really.
ann: a hallmark movie with the tingly parts left in
Lorix: Most definitely Ann, I'd be in the hallmark division no probs
Justin: I really enjoyed it.
Jo: I can not fucking understand how someone can give birth to someone ... carry them in your body and then hurt them or throw them away
Jenni Lea: me either Jo. It hurts my heart to know that this happens in real life
Breann: Oh I can't even imagine the hatefullness that parents would need to feel in order to do that to their child, Jo
Audrey: Jo, I totally agree. The definition of "throwaway" hurt my heart.
Lorix: I wanted the book to be longer to explore the feelings of the two guys more.
Sunny: The time jumps were frustrating
SRAL: Technically...not the greatest. It was sweet, perfect for fans of holiday sugar
ann: I thought I'd be squicked out with the age thing, but I thought that went well
Lorix: That was my complaint - that it seemed to just go between the emotional parts and not go in depth as much as I'd have liked.
Sunny: The age thing didn't bother me
Natasha: I read the description and thought I'd hate it, honestly. It tugged at a few pieces of my heart personally, though.
Audrey: I ended up reading it a second time after reading Natasha and T.A. Webb's reviews. That really changed my perspective on it, and I ended up overlooking a lot of the technical stuff I'd noticed earlier.
Sunny: I just want to bring all those kids into my house and give them the love they deserve
Natasha: Yeah me too =(
Breann: There is nothing my kids could do to make me not love them. Nothing!
Lorix: Agreed Breann
Jo: right but all of us are having visceral reactions to outside stimuli ie. knowing there are kids selling themselves out there because they were thrown out, not because of the words on the page
ann: I think that's what makes it hard to understand. we can't relate to 'throwing away' a child. scary
Justin: I wanted more. I like Hallmark movies.
Lorix: Me too Justin. =)
Lorix: The fact that this DOES happen makes this story even more poignant, as Natasha's review pointed out.
Natasha: I've met "throwaways" in my life and it's a hard reality, one I personally haven't had to face, luckily for me... I have a personal relationship with this story.
Justin: I too have met throwaways. That was my connection to the story....why I really liked it. Even though it was a stretch at times.
Breann: Exactly! Kids are thrown out for being gay and other reasons all the time. I can't even imagine.
Sunny: I wonder if it would be different if she wrote it now, keeping the story line but editing it?
Jo: yes like all the bones were there but to get to point z.. you zipped over lmnopq
Lorix: Hmm Sunny, I know what you're saying - I really enjoyed it, but as I said if it was longer, a tad more in depth, I'd have loved it even more.... Though probably for a Christmas short it was exactly what it was supposed to be.
Jenni Lea: You know me, I like the sugar so this book was perfect for me.
Breann: I'm a sap so it was all good for me.
Sunny: Favorite part?
Breann: The sweaters! I think that was cute.
ann: hahaha - the sweaters were great
Natasha: The sweaters were great. I couldn't pick a favorite if I had to though =)
Audrey: The sweaters were so cute.
Jenni Lea: I loved the sweaters! I think the part that got to me the most was when he was being examined and having the pictures taken.
Sunny: the picture scene was really touching, agree
ann: this sounds awful, but the part where Zach had the panic attack. that brought the reality back to it and made sense
Audrey: Yeah, Zach's panic attack made it not entirely smoopfest-y.
Lorix: I loved the Christmas jumpers too - A) because I love Christmas jumpers and B) it reminded me of Harry Potter and the Weasleys jumpers!
Breann: Jumpers! Cute. Harry Potter reference! YEEEEEES!
Jo: yes the harry potter connection...
Audrey: Totally, Lorix! I was picturing Bridget Jones's Diary and Colin Firth's blinking Rudolph sweater.
Lorix: That's not awful Ann, I agree
ann: it kept his whole emotional state from being glossed over
Lorix: Yes!! *Colin Firth - gazes dreamily into space*
Audrey: **SPOILER** (maybe?) I actually thought that Zach's initiating the sexytimes was really sweet. I enjoyed that a lot.
Justin: Audrey, that was sweet. And made it not creepy.
ann: it would have been a little creepy if Ben initiated
Jo: oooh audrey good point yes it had to be him who initiated...
ann: lovin' tension is always good
Lorix: I liked how Ben held out - doing the right thing - when it was obvious they were both falling for each other. That's what I'd have liked more of, it was all there for me to imagine but seeing that year, that would have been great.
Breann: Especially since Zach may have just needed affection not necessarily from Ben, so it was nice that Ben held out for a bit
Jo: yeah because come on 18 to 24 both good looking and at that age horny all the time right
ann: and in the same house, hello?
Jo: We have family like that - we have had relatives show up on christmas eve and it is automatic we pull gifts from the tree and put their names on it, no complaining about giving up gifts. It is just done.
Natasha: Jo- that's really nice of your relatives!!
Audrey: Jo, that's so true. We've done that with our family, too. Ben's family might be my favorite part, actually. It's utopian and maybe unrealistic, BUT...look at Natasha's family. Maybe Ben's family is really out there!
Jenni Lea: I want Ben's mom to be my mom too.
Lorix: I loved Ben's family too. His mum was great.
Jenni Lea: I think the first part of the book was better than the second. The second half seemed to speed through and it didn't have as much depth of the first
Lorix: Yes JL
Audrey: Jenni Lea, I agree. The time jumps were pretty drastic in the last few chapters.
Justin: YES. Seeing that year would have been a huge plus!
Natasha: I personally liked the way the first and second half rolled. I like the build up... so the first half of the book was slower, the perfect build up, and after it sped through a bit quicker to get to the more dramatic (sexy) parts, while still trying to maintain a feeling for some sort of time passage... I personally liked that!
Lorix: As a Hallmark (and Christmas 24 yay) fan, I love the unrealistic utopian family. Not always unrealistic - as Jo and Natasha are saying.
Lorix: My in-laws are pretty much the kind of people who make you feel at home right away.
ann: it was smart that she made the brother a lot more wary, harsh but more believable
Breann: i wanted to punch his freaking face in!
Natasha: me too!
Jo: Yes ann I was thinking the same thing.. like looking for needle marks
Justin: Brother was a jerk but believable.
ann: but in a believable way
Audrey: OMG, I knoooow! When he checked for track marks, I was like EXCUSE YOU???
Natasha: me and breann will punch his DICK
Jenni Lea: I liked how Ben's sister was all flirty with Zach at the beginning and how Ben gleefully informed her Zach was gay. Great sibling rivalry.
Natasha: I was gonna snap that shit in two
Breann: *high five*
Natasha: *high five*
Lorix: I loved that the brother was off to start and the sister was flirty - stopped it from being too perfect.
ann: you have to be pissed at somebody
ann: but think about it, he was protecting his mama
Breann: don't you know this is my cute throwaway? Getcher hands off him! *punch*
Audrey: I was pissed at Zach's dad. Those abuse scenes were painful.
ann: that's who should get punched in the dick - Zach's dad
Audrey: Yeah. Punched in the dick with a sledgehammer.
Natasha: yes, lets talk about the abuse scenes
Audrey: *passes tissue*
Jo: breaks my fucking heart .... I have not any tolerance for that shit....
Lorix: They were awful Natasha. obviously.
ann: now I want to punch someone in the dick with a sledgehammer
Breann: you should
Justin: I hated Zach's dad and felt nothing when the mom passed. Good riddance
Jenni Lea: I don't wanna talk about the abuse scenes! It hurts too much!
Lorix: this is fiction BUT this really does happen - well it just makes me realise how lucky I am.
ann: but Zach was all manly and protective of his sister, that was awesome
Natasha: I've read a lot of abuse scenes in M/M, which I'm sure we all have... and usually.. honestly, 90% of the time, I don't think they're handled properly at ALL. I feel like in this book, they were. He was treated as an adult, as a PERSON, not a VICTIM, but still they wanted to take action against his father, which IS important
Audrey: It really broke my heart to read about how Zach was blaming himself...saying they'd know he was broken and stuff. That was really hard.
Breann: I didn't really care about his mom either. she let everything happen so, IMO, is just as guilty
Natasha: agree ^
ann: yeah, mom's out
Lorix: I felt sorry for his mum.
Natasha: mom sucks. dad sucks.
Jo: right there... hubby and I are scary tight but both have said if we lost our minds our number one job is to protect our child even from the other
Lorix: It's awful that she did nothing, but very few people would willingly watch their children be abused, I think she must have been so bullied and degraded that she had no self worth or strength left.
Natasha: I can't imagine letting that stuff happen to my child... no matter how scared/weird/messed up I am.. I don't know.
Justin: Moms who let dads beat their kids get ZERO sympathy from me.
Lorix: That doesn't excuse why she let things happen, but maybe explains it a little.
Breann: your kids are always first and it's your job as a spouse to correct your husband when they are obviously in the wrong
ann: can't even imagine. I wouldn't think twice about bailing.
Lorix: Yes Ann, I would absolutely be outta there.
Natasha: Yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat as Justin
Sunny: I like that the abuse wasn't overdone in terms of too much angst, it didn't feel manipulative.
Justin: Great point Sunny!
Breann: no, even though it was emotional, I wouldn't call it angsty
Sunny: It is hard to understand people who stay in abusive situations like that, though
Audrey: So true, it wasn't angsty, but it tugged at the heartstrings.
ann: no, it was low on the angst. that was good, just emotional which was plenty
Lorix: There is no way I would let ANYONE do anything to my kids - I'm just saying I had some sympathy for his mum.
Jo: well the mom ended up dying to protect the daughter... not enough but isn't it a case of finally coming to jesus so to speak
Jenni Lea: Sucks that she didn't protect her son but she did eventually protect her daughter
Lorix: I liked she stayed strong for the daughter.
Lorix: Stayed there for the daughter - not sure how strong she was.
Breann: of course, I'd like to think I'd get out, but really I don't know what I would do
Justin: I'd have put a bullet in his brain if he beat one of my kids.
ann: yep, sledgehammer to the dick, no question
Lorix: HATED the father.
Natasha: yeah, awful person
ann: you don't let ANYONE near your kids. period.
Breann: now I think we all just need to hug it out
Jo: so no that is the point of abuse cycles i guess you are traumatized into accepting things you never would and others don't understand
Breann: this is way deep conversation
Natasha: okay.. so zach's younger sister.. how old was she? I had no clue, like.... 15?
Jenni Lea: I think she was 14 at the beginning of the book
ann: i was thinking 14
Justin: Ditto JL, 14
Audrey: I thought it was a really interesting approach to the father-as-villain that he NEVER appears onscreen. But we still hate him.
Breann: he didn't?
ann: it's the ones you don't see that are the scariest
Lorix: I liked that Audrey - the focus of the book was definitely Zach and Ben and the healing process.
Natasha: I liked the story in general. I liked all the characters for what they were (and the evil characters like the dad, I mean I hated him but it was evident) and I don't think I'd change anything about the book. Honestly, the story in general was so touchy, I could've lived without the romance at all.
Breann: I couldn't have done without the romance
Justin: I agree, Natasha. The book would have been just as good without the sexy times.
Jenni Lea: No, I liked the romance
Lorix: I loved the romance. Though I do know what you're saying Natasha.
ann: Ben was the sweetest thing ever
Audrey: Yeah, I kinda look for romance in everything I read, so I wanted it in there.
Jo: just an epilogue about them together... you know me and my hea....
Natasha: I enjoyed the romance but if it wasn't there at all, I still would've rated the book the same..
Lorix: Okay - I could have read it without the sex, but I wanted the romance. Does that make sense?
Justin: I liked the romance but the on the page sex could have been left out, IMO.
Jenni Lea: I feel exactly the same way. Didn't need the sex (although it was a plus) but I wanted the romance
Audrey: Like a closed door sort of thing.
ann: what the hell is wrong with you guys????
Audrey: I KNOW, what the actual fuck, we're saying we don't need sex??
Audrey: j/k ;)
Lorix: SRAL and I are complete opposites of the romance reading spectrum!
SRAL: LOL I don't mind sugar...I need good sugar.
ann: i was wondering 'what the actual fuck??'
Natasha: in the words of audrey
Natasha: "what the actual fuck?"
ann: my UM production of this book would include ALL the tingly parts!
Breann: I need the romance and I prefer the sex, so I don't think I would have liked it as much without it
SRAL: It was a nice story. *shrugs*
Lorix: I liked the sex, but it wasn't the main point of reading this book. IMO.
Justin: They could have just rubbed their "conditions" together and I'd have been cool with it. =)
ann: Ooooh - who's going to be in the movie version?
Natasha: me!! *raises hand*
Natasha: wait, you were asking for porn stars
Natasha: that little jerk that's always boning JB in CB films
Audrey: Let's cast Justin as Ben. He's sweet like that. =)
ann: I'm always asking for porn stars
SRAL: porn stars?
Lorix: Yay J for Ben.
Breann: I like Colby for Ben
Breann: just cause he's hot, no other reason
SRAL: Nooooooooooooo not Colby!
Jo: ok was it just me or was the cop channing tatum and I see him as his character in "this is the end"....;)
ann: J would make a perfect Ben. especially when he goes all alpha stallion
Jenni Lea: No, I want Justin for Ben
Justin: I'll be Zach if Colby is Ben!!!!!
Audrey: Colby would make a great Ben. He's always soooo sweet when he's topping.
Natasha: Justin is a good Ben I think!
ann: NO channing tatum. he's made of dumb
ann: J! you're Ben
Justin: No Zach!
Jo: yes dumb but I agree and a little inbred looking but that is his body
Audrey: Who would Jake Bass play??
Lorix: The brother?
SRAL: JB would have been the brother
Lorix: So who's Zach...
Breann: who do you want as your sweet throwaway?
Audrey: I was totally seeing Jett Black as Zach.
Natasha: I actually think channing tatum is yucky.......
Breann: I really don't like Jett - he looks weird
ann: I'm picturing a young charlie hunnam as Zach. He had the best puppy dog eyes when he was younger
Sunny: Not a fan of Jett, either
Natasha: kevin warhol!!
SRAL: yes Jett would fit, Audrey
ann: I don't really like jett either
Audrey: Oooooh. Kevin, I'm on board. *raises hand*
Jo: what about trouty lips from glee
Breann: LMAO, JO!!!!
SRAL: Audrey's love for Jett has rubbed off
Jenni Lea: Yes Kevin would be good as Zach
SRAL: har de har har
ann: no glee
Audrey: hehehehehe, rubbed. ;)
Breann: i love glee!
ann: Zach got all buff and stuff at the end.
ann: no glee
Breann: i love glee! :P
Jo: i just fast forward to the songs....
ann: random things that burst into song are annoying
Lorix: Now I've got to google Kevin Warhol. BRB.
Audrey: I love musicals. And cotton candy. And sweet stuff.
SRAL: never sat through an entire episode
Jenni Lea: GASP! Ann!
Breann: they're special and awesome and it's how RL should be
ann: no glee – I couldn't make it through an entire episode. I DNF'ed
Natasha: I've never seen Glee...
Breann: I burst into song all the time!
Justin: no glee! Says the gay man
ann: thank you J!
Audrey: New book question: Would you want to live in a village like Ben and Zach's?
Lorix: Of course I do live in a village so...
SRAL: In perfectville? I guess.
Jo: yes..... pleasantville
Natasha: how boring and small!
Jenni Lea: I would love to live in a small town like that!
ann: I would love it too
Sunny: I would live in a small town or village
Breann: I'm not neighborly enough for a small town
Justin: I grew up in smalltown, USA so YES!
Sunny: It can't be too conservative, though.
Audrey: I'd be curious, but I don't know if it'd work for me in the long run.
Breann: that means I'd have to actually talk to people on a regular basis at the store and stuff
ann: I want to live out in the sticks with my own commune with gun turrets and hounds
Lorix: No I love the idea of that small village where you know everyone and it's all Disneyesque.
Breann: oh god no
SRAL: lol well I always wanted to be Ariel from the little Mermaid when I was little.
Justin: I'd just spend more time online with the UM and Jake Bass!
ann: I talk to people everywhere, drives the fam crazy
Audrey: Ann - totally!! I'm either living in the middle of an urban city or living in the woods in one of those tiny houses that are 250 square feet and can be set up like a house-in-a-box.
Sunny: I LOVE tiny houses!
Jo: when we make our billions we will buy our own town like alec baldwin's ex wife but ours will stay solvent
Lorix: Couldn't do a city, but could live in the middle of nowhere.
ann: Middle of nowhere definitely!
Audrey: Jo, I would SO live in a Unicornsville.
Jenni Lea: I'm gonna move to a small town and run the general store and possibly live above it. I haven't decided yet
Lorix: Here, in the fens, they have houses surrounded by fields and nowt else and I would love to live there.
ann: I'll run the diner next door
Audrey: hehehehe, just think of what you'd stock there, JL
Natasha: Ill be a 'passer-through' in your small-town, JL!
Lorix: As long as I had the internet so I could hangout with the UM, I'm good.
Breann: I'll be at home avoiding people
Justin: General store with a sex shop in the back, JL?
ann: finger vibrators
Breann: okay, I'd have to go out to buy those
Audrey: Any last thoughts or things you loved or would've changed about The Christmas Throwaway?
Lorix: No, the only thing I would change is make the second half more in depth, longer.
Justin: I would have liked it to be just a little longer with more of the in between filled in.
Breann: I liked it the way it was, for a novella the length was good. I didn't mind the time jumps too much, filling in some of the gaps would have been nice but I still enjoyed it
Jo: i would tighten it more if you want it to be short or make it longer
Natasha: ummm... I wouldn't have changed anything, personally... =)
Lorix: Thanks for choosing this book, it really was my kinda read.
ann: I liked it as is
SRAL: I would have loved for the story to be a little more realistic. Maybe I would have liked the kid more if I got to see his home life before being thrown away.
Audrey: Overall it was a winner for me. The second read really hit home and left me with that warm and fuzzy feeling. I also learned the difference between throwaway and runaway, and that itself was eye-opening.
Audrey: And heartbreaking.
Sunny: I liked the stories that got shared in the reviews
Natasha: yes, good choice UM... not my normal choice but a FANTASTIC read for me
Justin: Natasha's reaction was worth it for me. The rest of you could have hated it and I'd have been ok with that.
Jo: oooh that is a good point. l think it had more of an impact for me because of Natasha's review.
SRAL: They weren't bad characters...
Lorix: I liked that we saw it from him being found.
Jenni Lea: Me too
Natasha: Awww... Justin... <3 thank you..
Natasha: also Jo.. thanks! =) I feel so special
SRAL: Yes that's my favorite thing of the book - people's reviews.
Lorix: D'ya know - I love the fact that we all have differing opinions of it and differing reasons why we like or don't like it.
Justin: I love that we all have different opinions but still respect each other. Love you guys!!
Audrey: *BIG HUGS*
Natasha: love you guys too! *hugs everyone*
Breann: Aw! I love us! *squishes*
SRAL: *hugs all around*
Now doesn't that just give you a big warm-and-fuzzy? Does The Christmas Throwaway sound like something you'll be cozying up to this holiday season? If you're curious about Natasha's review, which was mentioned in the chat, you can find it linked below. She also shared her cartoon talents with us in last month's Picture Guessing Game.
Thanks for joining us for our December chat and big unipornian hugs all around. We wish you all a happy holiday season!
For individual unicorn reviews of The Christmas Throwaway, check out these Goodreads reviews:
Natasha: 4.5 Stars
Audrey: 4 Stars
SheReadsALot: 2.5 Stars
Note: The chat has been edited for length and clarity.