Sunday Funday Christmas: 2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug | Week 2

Missed a week? Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
| Week 6

This week we review stories from Cassie Sweet, Thianna Durston, Cassia Rose, Ann Anderson and Ariel Tachna!

Hill hates Christmas.

The shoppers. The cheer. The drama. All of it.

Each holiday season is a painful reminder that seven years before, his lover, Drew, walked out of his life and moved across the country, leaving Hill like a cup of rotten eggnog. Now Drew is back and wants Hill to put a little jingle in his bells. Well, not this Scrooge.

Drew admits he moved to get away from Hill—but not for the reasons Drew gave him all those years ago. Some of his best memories are of Christmases he celebrated with Hill, and he wants nothing more than to spend a little holly jolly with the only man he’s ever loved. However, getting Hill to agree to a reunion is going to take a Christmas miracle.

Sara - 3 Hearts

This was sweet but it left me wanting.

Drew left seven years ago to learn to be his own man without being part of Drew and Hill and tore Hill’s heart out. I get the being lost in a relationship and wanting to find out who you are without the other person that somehow now defines who you are. It’s not the fault of your lover, it’s just what happens when people become a couple, you go from Drew to Drew and Hill or Hill’s Drew etc. so I get that he left. I don’t like how he left and that he never contacted Hill again but once again it happens. It happens with friends that you were in close contact with daily then weekly, monthly and then a year goes by and you intend to send them a message just like the old days but you never do it because so much time has passed, how can you? So yeah, I get all of that.

It would have been nice to know Jen and Drew were cousins in the beginning because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why Drew would suddenly be staying at Hill’s BFF’s house, the BFF Hill has had since they were in elementary school. I spent the whole reunion drama trying to figure out why he was there and not focusing on the boys. *shrugs*

Kong was amazing but dogs are. Period.

Drew’s mom is a bitch.

The private Christmas party was a nice gesture but what it turns into was sweet. I feel like there was something missing from the story though because just when I started to get a feel for Hill and Drew with their relationship and a possible second chance the story... ended.

Lori - 3 Oh Yes You Do, Oh No I Don't Hearts

Oooohhhh... this story divided me right down the middle.

On one hand, a well written, super sweet Christmas romance of re-kindled relationship. On the other, I was so pissed off at Drew's reason's for ;leaving and having no contact for 7 years. Have your cake and eat it, much? Yeah, yeah, I get his reasoning on a fundamental level, but... no. Just no. It made him seem very selfish IMO, even if he was adorable ion the actual story. Still glad I read it though!

Find out more about The Stockings Were Hung on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

Former US Marine John Ving hates everything about holiday displays: they’re tacky, they waste energy, and they’re an eyesore. So what does his new neighbor do? He sets up the holiday spectacle from hell, and he doesn’t seem to care which holiday—he has a menorah, a baby Jesus, a Santa, and everything in between. Not to mention it’s swathed in enough lights his house is probably visible from space.

High-school teacher Kaden loves the holidays, and huge light displays on his lawn make his heart glow. He’d love to share some cheer—and maybe some kinky fun—with his smoking hot neighbor John. Odd things start to happen to his displays and just as he begins to think life is going his way, with the holidays and with John, a Grinch destroys everything.

It’s gonna take the display-hating John to set things right—and what he has planned might blow Kaden’s mind.

Fantasy Living - 3.5 Hearts

I have to say, Christmas light displays are my favourite part of the holiday season. Although I don’t do it myself, I get all giddy when I see everyone else’s displays up.

John doesn’t feel the same way as I do when it comes to over the top decorations, but he can’t bring himself to object at the homeowners meeting, when Kaden puts forward a vote to decorate the entire street. There’s something about a man whose cock is unknowingly on display through his pants that gets John tongue-tied and unable to object to anything.

Kaden thinks John is delicious, and wants him naked and under his Christmas tree this first Christmas without his mum. He’s going all out with his mother’s stored Christmas decorations, and working on his Christmas Cheer, while trying to find ways to be in John’s space. When John loses a bet in a card game with his nephew, and has to decorate his house, Kaden finds the perfect opportunity to get to know his next door neighbour.

I’m a little disappointed that the Penis lights didn’t make more of an appearance in this story. That could have been a pretty fun and inappropriate Christmas display. Instead, we’ll all just have to dream about what that would look like…..

This was nice, with some good relationship development. I would have enjoyed it more if the activities were described thoroughly, and if the sensory experience was a little more in depth. For a short story it passed. The writing was good, and it was more where the scenes cut off that had me feeling a little cheated. For a short Christmas story this was enjoyable, and memorable.

For those who love the season and want a mostly clean romance.

Ann - 3 Hearts

This story would be perfect for the gay version of the Hallmark channel at Christmastime that I need to make be a thing in my lifetime. The sweet character was extra sweet, the grump was charmingly grumpy, the drama was a smidge extra dramatic, plus precocious kids. It’s an easy read to get your warm fuzzies on and the two MC’s couldn’t have been more opposite, so there was that extra little appreciation of someone different that is always fun to read about. The story will make you want to decorate excessively and bake too many cookies and there is nothing wrong with either of those things. Plus, the MC’s have an appreciation of each other’s kink-lite that needs to be a part of my future network as well. A little spice to the sugar so to speak.

Chelsea - 2.5 Hearts

Did I read this book because it had the word penis in the title? Yes I did! Was that the best thing about this book? Close to it, yes.

There really wasn't anything wrong with this story, but I didn't really connect to the love story or the whole’ Christmas spirit’ aspect.

John and Kaden were developed quite nicely, but their ending was rushed. John suddenly has this deep care for Kaden, so much so he feels the need to go to such lengths to make his Christmas better when things go wrong. Considering John was a bit of Grinch and I didn't really get the feeling he thought more of Kaden than an attractive man he wanted to ask on a date, it felt a bit excessive for his character. Then there was a fade to black first time, which I shouldn't rate less because of but…. I can't help it, it sucks.

I also struggled to relate to excessively decorating your house in Christmas lights, or maybe it just didn't make sense that that was the only way for someone to feel the Christmas spirit. I just didn't care about Kaden's HEA with the whole lights thing. I think I need a few more feels involved for me to feel that Christmas spirit.

There were a few giggles but overall I didn't particularly enjoy it.

Sara - 4 Hearts

This was adorable. I love that the theme this year is all about finding your Christmas spirit again because I love having mine.

John and Kaden are the best kind of neighbors, the ones who lust after one another but do nothing about it until they can’t hold out anymore. They were so fun as John was irritated by the overly hot holiday loving Kaden and Kaden wanting to simply climb the budding silver fox next door who is John. The decoration debacle made the story a joy to read with the inclusion of John’s nephews and how they see Kaden and John trying not to give goo goo eyes at one another.

John finding the true reason he wasn’t a fan of the holidays and decorating made the end of the story that much sweeter and what he does for Kaden was uber romantic. Kaden’s version of The 12 Days of Christmas is hilarious and John’s comment about Kaden’s smile was pretty much an unf moment.

All in all, this was a fun, sweet and toward the end a bit of sexy read that had me grinning like a fool.

Lori - 4.25 Tinsel Wrapped Hearts

Cute, cute, cute.

Did I mention cute?

When your new neighbour loves all things Christmas and you don't, what do you do? Learn to love all things Christmas of course. Decorating, baking, gifts - add in some cute as a button nephews and you have a cream filled, marshmallow topped hot chocolate of a Christmas story.

Find out more about Of Mooning Santa and Penis Lights on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

Micheal Donovan’s family has kept the peace between mortal and magical realms for generations, but Micheal skipped out on glory for other plans. He finished school, got a nine-to-five, and tried to fit in. When his cousin meets an unfortunate end on All Hallows, Micheal abruptly inherits the position of Riftkeeper, along with all the prestige and responsibility he didn’t want. Estranged from his family, Micheal never learned the details of the job. All the grumpy, ancestral spirit now possessing his goldfish can tell him is that a mistake could be catastrophic. Micheal isn’t feeling the holiday cheer, and coworkers’ attempts to encourage him only add to a headache of magical proportions. To make matters worse, Ryan Nickles, Micheal’s colleague and cubicle neighbor, has assembled enough Christmas decorations to attract more pixies than Micheal can hide.

When Micheal’s attempts to find the Winter Court on the week of the solstice leave him with nothing but a bad cold, he fears he’ll be the first Riftkeeper to break ancient contracts. He’s too stressed to handle Ryan’s attempts to get him into the holiday spirit, but Ryan might know more about the magic of the season than Micheal realizes.

Sara - 3 Hearts

It was all up to Micheal and his possessed goldfish, and Micheal was not remotely comfortable with this.

I really liked this one and yet it bugged me, but that doesn’t mean it was bad.

Let me say the world building was great but I think it was too much for such a short story. When you give me that amount of world building, I expect to stay in it and get really cozy. Maybe this is just a springboard for more of Micheal and Ryan and how they balance Micheal being the new Riftkeeper and Ryan helping, but I don’t know. It was cute and Ryan is A-DOR-A-BLE and you can’t go wrong with a spirit guide living in the body of your goldfish. But…II guess I was bugged because I wanted more. I wanted more of the budding possible romance between Ryan and Micheal, more Fairies and Pixies and Winter Court and Queens who chocolate liquor and just… sigh. More.

Lori - 4 Fairy Dusted Hearts

This story, set in our world but with a fantasy twist was let down only by one thing - it's a short story instead of a full length novel/novella! Witty and cute this made me smile BIG! A talking fish, A talking magical fish. What says Christmas more than a talking fish? I loved Michael and Ryan and really, really wanted more wordage to this story. This is an author I need to check out further.

Find out more about Pixies and Paperwork on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

When Marcus and James started dating a few years ago, James invited Marcus home to spend the holidays with his close, Christmas-loving family. Marcus quickly realized once was enough, and since then, he’s stayed behind.

But this year will be different. Though the festivity and chaos make Marcus uncomfortable, he loves James, and he’s decided to put aside his unease so they can spend Christmas together—even if it means losing his hotel room to one of James’s siblings, braving the cold to go caroling, and battling the crowds so the children can visit Santa. It’ll all be worth it if Marcus can take his place in the family’s traditions—and maybe begin a new tradition for the two of them.

Sara - 4 Hearts

A sweet low angst story about established couple, Marcus and James and all the traditions that you bring into a relationship and the new ones you make together.

James’ family is OTT when it comes to Christmas; the decorations, the caroling, the visits to Santa and the “under our roof” house rules. Marcus, he had one year of it and that was about all he could handle but after years of letting James go solo, he decides this year will be different.

...but if he wanted to impress James, then he needed to suck it up. And he wanted this to be a fantastic memory for both of them.

Marcus and James are a great couple and I love it when we get an established couple that is still so in love with one another. I was eagerly waiting to see what gift Marcus had for James and how James would react and it was super sweet to see how much Marcus was doing so that James would have the best Christmas ever with his whole family and his lover. Another winner in this year’s Advent Calendar.

Lori - 4 Snow Topped Hearts

So sweet.

I loved this. Marcus's plan was just plain adorable from start to finish. A good old romantic Christmas story that doesn't get spoilt by the in-laws, whatever their quirks. The beginning made me squee especially, I love nice surprises! The ending wasn't too bad either! another author I need to pay more attention to.

Find out more about Traditions on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

Carlos Mendez spends all year working hard at his Houston-based landscaping business, and he sends every spare penny he earns back to his family in Mexico. By the time the holidays roll around, he doesn’t have much patience for the unadulterated greed and consumerism paraded past him. But a chance meeting with his neighbor, Ned Williams, and Ned’s cancer-stricken daughter, might help to remind him of the real meaning of the season—something beyond the gaudy lights and extravagant displays—something he wants to be a part of.

Sara - 3.5 Hearts

This was a breath of fresh air and so heartwarming.

“It’s not Christmas I have a problem with, It’s everything that comes with it that has nothing to do with Christmas. This, though has everything to do with Christmas.”

Carlos works hard at his job as head of a landscaping company that installs Christmas decorations and lights during the winter slow season. He’s become a bit of a Scrooge over the years not liking what the holiday has become. One night when he comes home, he sees a string of popcorn garland across his neighbor's balcony and decides to let them know the complex will complain about the animals the garland will bring. When Carlos meets his neighbor Ned and his daughter Sonia, the ice around Carlos’ heart begins to melt and this is before he knows Ned’s sexuality.

This story is all about the giving of the holiday season. Giving to those you love and giving to those who have less than you. When Carlos tells his crew about Ned and Soniia, the things they all do just made me melt with how much they cared for someone one they never met simply because Carlos cared and because it’s the human thing to do.

Carlos had known his crew and their families were kind, generous people, but he hadn’t expected this kind of outpouring of support for someone they didn’t even know. It humbled him and reminded him of what Christmas was supposed to be about.

The budding romance between Carlos and Ned was perfectly paced and perfectly romantic. It doesn’t overwhelm the story nor is it hidden or glossed over, it’s just exactly where it needs to be in a short holiday story.

Lori - 4.5 Homemade Biscuit Hearts

This story was a true and genuine reflection of the joy of giving and sharing. It was simple and not an over-the-top glitterfest of a Christmas story. Don't get me wrong, I love OTT glitterfest stories, but this made for a nice change of pace. A story that gives you time to stop and think about friends, neighbours and family.

Find out more about Popcorn Garlands on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

***Review copies were provided by the publisher.***

Join us next Sunday for Week 3 of our 6 week Christmas Extravaganza! 
Until then let the Christmas Spirit fill you with cheer.


  1. thank you for the reviews, guys. Some of these will certainly go to my TBR list!