Guest Review: Hanukkah Gifts by Jacob Cheyenne

Twenty-five-year-old TV producer Jared Greenfield loves his big city life -- job, friends, and shopping -- but even with all the fun of big city life, he feels a longing for something, or someone, more. Then, on the very first night of Hanukkah, he spots a handsome, sweaty basketball player at the Jewish Community Center.

Tall, dark, and Orthodox, the young and athletic Shai Goodhart strikes up an easy friendship with Jared, only to discover Jared has very little appreciation for his own Jewish heritage and religion. Determined to enlighten this “Bad Jew,” Shai invites him over for a family Hanukkah celebration.

Then Jared discovers Shai’s deepest secret and the biggest threat to his future. Over the eight days of Hanukkah, deep emotions pull them closer and closer together. Can they ever reach across the divide of their shared culture and fall in love?

Reviewer: Shee Reader

Jared is, by his own admission a bad jew. On the night before Hanukkah at the JCC, he sees a group of young men playing basketball. One in particular catches his eye, a very skilled player and very attractive man with a blue yarmulke on his inky hair, Jared is transfixed.

As he’s hurrying home, he sees the handsome stranger on the subway, and Shai (pronounced ‘shy’) strikes up a conversation. As the men chat on the journey, they discover that they both live in Brooklyn, Shai where all the super religious orthodox jews live. And here we have the heart of our story.

Jared is a TV producer on a huge kids tv show living the New York life, and Shai work for his uncle in an internet business, has a super strict upbringing, and is still living with his parents. As they talk more, it turns out all Shai’s nephews and nieces are huge fans of Jared’s show. Since Jared can organise tickets for the audience, they exchange numbers, and Shai invites Jared home for dinner with the family the next night to celebrate Hanukkah.

After dinner, Shai comes out to Jared, the first time he’s ever told anyone about his true self. As Shai cries all over Jared, he can't even bring himself to use the word gay, and Jared decides to himself that despite the attraction, he will be a good friend to Shai. They arrange to meet up soon, but Shai’s furtive behaviour is a wake up call to Jared. If he allows his feelings for Shai to grow, he’s in for a world of hurt.

Our two men see each other daily through Hanukkah, following the big family party where Jared is introduced to Shai’s betrothed, and including a trip to see Jared’s mom for dinner. After sharing a scorching kiss with Shai, Jared knows he’s falling in love with the beautiful man, and knows it won’t end well. Luckily for us, in the world of the romance novel, there is almost always a HEA, and this book is included!

The writing is light, engaging and it really easy to slip into the story. I cared about the men from the outset and read the whole book in one sitting, so it must have been good! If I have one minor complaint, the ending made me roll my eyes!

I really enjoying this festive treat, and I’ll definitely look out for more by this author. In a world of Christmas craziness, it’s refreshing to get a great Hanukkah story.

I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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