Another reason to grab this anthology is its worthy cause! The proceedings will be donated to "Lost-N-Found" youth - a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to take LGBTQ youths off the streets into permanent housings.
A Very English Christmas by Keira Anderws ★
I wasn't interested in this one at all. David and Isaac were raised Amish, about a year ago they left and now they are living with Isaac's brother (who also left the Amish community). Also David's sister is staying close by (left the Amish as well). This story was all sweet and sugary. David and Isaac are so very sweet together, and generally with how they try to learn the ways of the "English" (meaning "non Amish"). This is Christmas and there are many traditions they are learning a new. If you are into this kind of sweetness, this one is absolutely for you. For me? not so much. If you leave out some details (like the sex) this one could totally be a story about two small kids in a new place. They WERE sweet and all, but there was nothing that held my interest about these two.
The story wasn't about their HEA but them finding a place of their own to share as they dreamed they would in the future. I guess great for them..
Mr. Perfect's Christmas by Joanna Chambers ★★★★★
I don't think it's possible for me to be disappointed with Joanna's writing. Everything I read, no matter the genre or length I enjoy. This being no different. Sam is a lawyer, he thought he'd be a brilliant one, starting off in a respectable firm in London. Yet when he was fired all he found was a job he wasn't sure he was up to. I don't want to say a lot about that because discovering all the details and Sam's true feelings was part of what made this short novella so good. In his current job he was replaying the well respected Nick. Secretly he called him "Wonder boy", everyone kept saying how amazing he was and Nick reappearing at the office with random facts made him even more insecure in his place. Being attracted to him only made it worse.. not to mention how everyone around him seems to laugh at the way he liked to dress and the expensive things he enjoys.
The Christmas party and how Sam felt during the whole deal crushed my heart. There's so much to Sam, and there is so little he realizes about everything around him because he is so worried about, well, EVERYTHING. While he would never consider himself "Mr Perfect" that's what he is trying to be and though everyone believes it, he really doesn't. He and Nick were a perfect match, I enjoyed seeing how they got closer. Nick is SUCH a sweet heart with the best intentions even if Sam never saw them as they were.
The Christmas Ship by Amy Jo Cousins ★★★★★
Josh and Benji have been online friends for the past six months, it started with both of them appreciating the same show, watching it together every week and commenting on it online. They've never met, moreover, Josh was using his name as a part of his avatar while Benji used "princessglitter" and with everything he was saying it was hard to tell he is actually a guy.. so what happens when a bit depressed Josh jumps on a plan to Miami to have a few days of fun with his best (online) friend? Benji is worried, over the fact he is a guy and that means he partly misled Josh and also his small apartment with barely any furniture in it.. Yet Josh surprises him. He suspected Benji was a guy which is okay because he is gay as well.. even if he only ever admitted it to himself. When they come together it's perfect, the online friendship turning to real one and quickly into something more.
The romance was really sweet because basically they DID know each other for months it was just the "physical" side that was missing.. I totally get that, I have many online friends and I see what happens (to some..) when we meet in person. It so much FUN!
I gotta say I was a bit lost at what the hell they were talking about on their online conversations.. But though I was a bit frustrated at the beginning it lasted a page and then I just let it go. I guess it was a nice add to understanding the way they interacted and how they became friends but closer than just ones who talk about a mutually beloved show.
That Thing By Megan Erickson ★★★★★
This one was so AWESOME. Though I'm so not into wedding and in my country the whole "wedding planning" is fan from the things I've read in books that happen across the sea. Well, there IS some sort of deal with it, but I can't remember how it was with my siblings and in general I try to stay away from these annoying events as it is.. Devin isn't that big into weddings himself.. yet his twin sister is a wedding planner and since her assistant is unavailable at the moment he agrees to help out. Besides the little things she asks his main job is to see that the best man doesn't get into any trouble... Well, Adrian doesn't PLAN on getting in trouble he just isn't well liked by his best friend's family since he came out as being gay. Somehow they felt "cheated" by him "misleading" them. After graduation he left the state to study as far away as possible so now seeing everyone isn't heart warming for him.. though seeing his best friend and old crush getting married DOES make him realize he should be on his best behavior even if he is annoyed and pissed at right about anyone around him, including Devin who attracts him and intrigues him WAY too much.
I loved the interaction between these two. I had a few Laugh Out Loud moments. Their banter was perfection and their smexy times were so much fun!
The ending was exactly as it should be. It was so RIGHT. I loved it. I've read one series by Megan and somehow I think I forgot to follow on her other novels - MISTAKE! I will be correcting it soon!
Just Like Heaven by Suki Fleet ★★★★★
So damn sweet! Jess and David meet in the most unlikely way when David drops a bill in Jess's guitar case when he heard him playing. After a short conversation David offered Jess a job with his uncle who works as a caterer. Didn't took long for them to act upon their mutual attraction but took them long enough to actually ask each other for more. David is REALLY shy, it was SO endearing! and Jess went through enough in his short life not allowing himself to ever get close to a guy again. Yet everything about David captures Jess's heart and so every time he sees the disappointment on David's face when he turn him down (for more than sex) his walls crumble down.
This is the first I've read by Suki but it WON'T be the last. The story was so sweet and yet heart crushing at the same time. I loved every minute of it and though I feel mean comparing, both Jess and David are very young (round 18 years old) and yet even though there were very naive they felt WAY more mature than the formed couple in the first novella in this Anthology. Which only shows it's not always about the age and the experience it's about who the characters are and how they act.
Not Your Grandfather's Magic by Kaje Harprer ★★★★★
To say I was impressed with this short novella would be one hell of an understatement. This might be quite short but it delivered a full story I have to words to describe. Zeb and Matt's relationship was adorable, mostly it was Matt's clumsiness and the sweet way Zeb saw it and was offeneded when it made Matt sell himself short. I loved Matt's grandma Jo and the relationship they had. It all started when Zeb comes into Jo's house as a hired handy man and Matt - sure that his beloved grandmother is being robbed attacks Zeb with everything he's got! (he bites his ear...), Grandma Jo sees the looks both exchange when they calm down with a hot drink and cookies and is determined to help her grandson out a bit - asking Zeb for a bit more help with fixing the dead bolt later on that day.
The one thing I was very curious to how would evolve - the magic factor. Zeb is waiting for his 21st birthday for a ritual that would enable him to tap into his Talet making him psychic like his father and grandfather. Yet things aren't as he wished they would be. His father is still gone though he promised to be there for the ritual and his grandfather doesn't even want him to be able to use it. In the end, after the ritual and everything that happened there I was simply FLOORED with it all. I was mostly impressed with Matt and how he took everything and how he showed Zeb how much he feels for him. It was so beautiful and sweet I turned into a pile of mush! I'm still a bit overwhelmed from the experience. This novella was really special. I remembered I enjoyed Kaje's novella before but now? I gotta grab more. I'll start with her short novellas - I already know she is sharp as a knife with those and frankly I don't have any time to add full novels but it doesn't mean I"m going to forget Kaje!
Bottle Boys by Anyta Sunday ★★★★★
The final installment was the sweetest, endearing novella of them all. My heart was aching for the beautiful person Ben is, even though he seems to has it all - money, smarts - he isn't lacking in a heart. Yet six month before Christmas his father decides to teach him a lesson - he has to "save Christmas" meaning save the usual money the (overly rich) family spends on Chritsmas so his younger brother can enjoy the holiday as he is used to.. At the beginning, Ben has his idea of how to collect the money but as he sees that Seb is the one who TRULY needs the money he finds himself giving it all to him and looking for a different way to make his brother happy. Seb went through so much in his short life, luck being totally drained from it yet he has Ben - even if he thought that Ben doesn't look at him the way he looks at him (with longing and a dab of jealousy..). It was so beautiful and heart warming. Both Ben and Seb were willing to do anything and everything for their siblings, in the end it worked best for both of them. I couldn't have asked for a better way to end this Anthology and yep, I'll be looking for MORE by Anyta.
There is no other "choice" than to give this Anthology the 5 star rating it deserves, yeah I had a disappointment with the first one, but 6 out of 7 being a solid 5 stars means I'm willing to forget that initial disappointment.. not to mention I have new authors to check out which I'm really excited about (though I'll probably need another month in 2016 to even consider adding MORE books to my list.. ;))
Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 417 pages, 4-6 December 2015 / On GoodReads