Angel Voices by Rowen Speedwell

31129139On a frigid winter night, college freshman Will stumbles into the shelter of a church during choir practice. His father has just discovered that Will is gay, and has beaten him and thrown him out of the house. But right now Will’s interested only in getting warm.
Will’s college roommate Quinn is a soloist in the choir, which is practicing for a Christmas program. He discovers Will in the church—and his friend’s condition. Will, who has grown up in a repressed environment, including church school, an abusive father and a passive mother, is taken aback by Quinn’s enthusiasm and determination to take care of him.
Does Will have a future after all, especially one that will include Quinn?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I really enjoyed this short, sweet holiday romance. It’s only the second book I’ve read by Rowan Speedwell, and so far I haven’t been disappointed.

The description pretty much says it all. Will’s basically lost it all… his family, his scholarship, his hope. Because of Quinn, Angel Voices turns into the perfect Holiday read because the main thing he provides is hope. There are a few surprising little twists that prove that not everything is quite as hopeless as it may seem.

DragonFlyRating4

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Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher

ChampagneKisses_600x900The Christmas Eve wedding Evan Cleary pulled together in four weeks is crashing down around him and taking his fledgling event planning business with it. With an empty altar and over a hundred guests arriving soon, he turns to the resistant, gorgeous brother of the runaway groom for help.
When Richard Patterson’s flamboyant brother storms out hours before he’s scheduled to marry his equally dramatic partner, Richard is left dealing with the fallout. The last thing he wants is more drama, yet he can’t deny his attraction to the effeminate event planner trying to salvage the wedding.
Evan thinks his crush on Richard is a lost cause, but one steaming kiss later, he learns different. What starts as a night of hot sex turns into a connection neither expected. But Evan knows their relationship is hopeless unless the ultra-conservative Richard can embrace every part of him—both in private and in public.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’m not sure what I expected, but this was one of the sweetest Holiday reads I picked up this year.

Richard was sure that Evan wasn’t the guy for him and Evan was sure that his crush on Richard was as far as things would go. They both got more than they bargained for in Champagne Kisses. As short as this one was (just over 80 pages) it wasn’t lacking. Considering the whole story takes place in about 24 hours, that’s saying a lot. This may have been the first book by Lynda Aicher that I’ve read, but it definitely won’t be the last. 😉

DragonFlyRating4

Come Home to Me (Coming Home #5.5) by Jessica Scott

ComeHomeToMeAll Major Patrick MacLean wanted was Christmas with the woman and child who were his family in everything but name. But Captain Samantha Egan has come back from the war a different woman than the one who left – and she doesn’t know if she can love him anymore.
But neither of them counted on the determination of a little girl they both call daughter and if Natalie has her wish, her parents may have no idea what’s coming for them. It’s going to take Christmas miracle to bring these two wounded warriors back from the edge of a broken heart.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jessica Scott romance. and to be honest, I forgot how much I enjoy them. Her personal ‘touch’ with military romance never fails to pull me into her stories. She’s also among the handful of my ‘go-to’ contemporary romance authors. So, why it’s taken me so long to pick up this Holiday novella is beyond me… but ’tis the Season’ 😉

I’ve got to admit, it took me a while to sympathize with Samantha. I’m kind of ashamed of myself for that, but I blame it on the fact that Patrick’s POV opened the story. In my head, Patrick was the victim and Samantha was the one causing the pain. Even after they were brought back together, it took me a while to understand why she left. It helped knowing that even she didn’t know. The point is, and one that was pretty effectively driven home, is that unless you’re in the situation that Samantha was in, you can never truly understand it. There’s no right way to handle it and you don’t just ‘come home’ after it’s over. Both of these characters grew and in the process more secrets were revealed on both sides.

Since Natalie was a catalyst in this story, I was happy (but not surprised) to see that she was a witty and smart little girl that added a lot to the plot. This was a family that still had a way to go to be back on track by the end, but they were on the right track and sometimes, that and hope is pretty much all you need.

DragonFlyRating4

Don’t Stop Believing (Silver Pines #1) by Gwen Hayes

DontStopBelievingThe Ogre from the Hill
Simon Powell, the town recluse, only comes to town to deliver firewood and get supplies. Two days before Christmas, he sees the new librarian’s car in a ditch and knows he can’t leave him on the road, but it’s too late to take him back to town. He’ll have something he’s never had in his cabin in the ten years that’s he’s lived there…company.
The Book Nerd from the City
Adam Parker moved to the small community to make big changes in his life, but being snowbound with the bearded lumberjack in his rustic cabin was something he’d thought only existed in his fantasies. Simon pushes away anyone who wants to get close to him, but Adam sees what he’s hiding in his heart and he wants it. Badly.
A Christmas to Remember
Adam smells like cinnamon and redemption and Simon aches to run his fingers over the scrape of stubble on his cheeks. To pull him into a kiss. To reignite feelings he’d denied himself for too long. Life is right there, blazing in the eyes of the town librarian. A man who isn’t afraid of him. But he learned long ago that everything he touches gets tainted, and he’ll do anything to keep his darkness away from Adam’s light.
But Adam has something else on his side—he’s been a very good boy this year and all he wants for Christmas is Simon.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Short, sweet and totally not what I expected….

Simon might be the town recluse, but his town hasn’t given up on him. Even with his best attempts to keep to himself. They see something in him that he doesn’t… and so does Adam.

The connection between Adam and Simon is electric. Adam’s determined to get to know the mysterious recluse. I loved these two together and I loved the members of the town that were introduced. Another perfect Holiday read and the best part is that it’s the beginning of a series. 😉

DragonFlyRating4

Rebound Remedy by Christine D’Abo

ReboundRemedy_500x750The last thing Cole expects to get for the holidays is dumped. But there he is, in the airport on his way to Banff for a romantic getaway, helplessly watching as his boyfriend’s ex declares undying love, proposes—and is accepted. With a few weeks to go until Christmas, Cole’s mood dives from jolly to jaded. But instead of sitting at home alone and feeling sorry for himself, he goes to his favorite bar, McGregor’s, for a pint and some company.
The moment Owen McGregor sets eyes on Cole, he knows there’s something wrong. So he takes it upon himself to ensure that Cole has a happy holiday: twelve outings for the twelve days before Christmas. Even if he can’t quite think up twelve activities that don’t involve getting the forlorn hunk into his bed.
With each outing they take together, Cole realizes that the love he thought he’d shared with his ex was less than perfect. And that Owen might prove to be more than just his rebound remedy.
———————–
Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.
Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.
To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I really liked this one. Since it was my first Christine D’Abo, I was pleasantly surprised that Rebound Remedy turned out to be a perfect Holiday read. And… the purchase of this book supports a worthy cause, so it turned out to be a win/win 😉

Poor Cole… it’s hard for him to realize from the opening scene in the book that his significant other is actually doing him a huge favor. Dumping him was probably the best thing he ever did… (it didn’t hurt that he got what he deserved in the end, but that may be just me. 😉 )

Owen may have been Cole’s ‘knight in shining armor’ but it didn’t take long to discover that Owen needed Cole as much as Cole needed Owen. Those are the best kind of love stories, aren’t they?

DragonFlyRating4

 

Found at the Library (Found #1) by Christi Snow

FoundAtTheLibraryHis entire life, Tommy Garrett has dealt with self-doubts. He thought he’d conquered the majority of them until a chance meeting with an author brought his illiteracy to the forefront…again. Growing up with un-diagnosed dyslexia has left Tommy barely able to read, but books are his Nirvana. Now he spends his life creating art dedicated to the love of those “untouchable” items.
Robert McIntyre, Mac, is a best-selling, highly celebrated author. But his point of view has become a little bit too narrow…until Tommy opens his eyes. That chance meeting has changed everything about his world. He has no idea how to find the beautiful man he met, and offended, at the library book sale. But when he does, Tommy’s life is in crisis-mode. It’s the holidays and Mac can’t just standby when Tommy needs help, whether Tommy wants it or not.
Two artistic men. One shared passion for books.
Life is hard, and sometimes when conflict arises you have to write your own plot twist to pull yourself out of the fray.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I really liked these guys… well, except for the times that I wanted to smack them. They both made some serious mistakes along the way, but I forgave them their moments of stupidity. Mostly because they had legitimate reasons for feeling and acting the way that they did… and they fixed it.

Mac and Tommy were both extremely artistic, but in very different ways. They were also both very passionate about their art, which was what caused their initial misunderstandings. They also both had a knack for jumping to the wrong conclusions, which almost tore them apart more than once. That was aggravating at times, but when I stepped away from the emotion of it all, I kind of understood it. Tommy had lots of reasons to mistrust both his feelings and Mac’s. Even Mac thought his own attempts to help Tommy were borderline stalkerish, but the pull he felt toward him was something he couldn’t fight.

The supporting characters in Found at the Library were a great addition to the story. I can’t really talk about them too much because I don’t want to give anything away. I will say that I shed more than one tear in this one and even ‘yelled’ at the author for making me tear up at a totally unexpected point in the book.

On a side note, every once in a while a book makes me want to find out more when I’m finished. Found at the Library had me searching the internet for anything close to the art that Tommy creates. My gut reaction would have probably been something like Mac’s initial one to desecrating a book until I glimpsed some of the artwork. It’s amazing…

Oh, and I’m also really glad that this book is the first in a series… but I can’t really tell you why. *snickers* Let’s just say when I found out who the next book is about I smiled… a lot. 😉 Happy reading!DragonFlyRating4

 

 

The Christmas Top (1 Night Stand) by Christi Snow

The-Christmas-Top-300x450All he wants for Christmas…

It’s time for Mark Cummins to come out of the closet. He’s ready, but he’s never been topped. Asking Madame Eve for the one-night stand of his fantasies, he hopes she can grant his Christmas wish.

He’s a less-than-merry gentleman…

Jason Wieland’s life partner died in a horrific hate crime two years before and he hasn’t taken a lover since. He knows it’s time, and he reaches out to the 1Night Stand dating service to find the right man to light up his holiday. But when masculine, sexy, and extremely straight Mark shows up, he doesn’t know what to do.

Is this 1 Night Stand a cruel joke or has Madame Eve truly worked Christmas magic?

This one was short and sweet and part of Decadent Publishing’s 1 Night Stand series. It was the perfect venue for Christi Snow to leap into the M/M genre and I can’t tell you guys how excited I am that she did. 😉

I love Christi’s characters and even though this novella was shorter than what I’m used to from this author, there was still enough time to fall in love with Jason and Mark. She even had time to throw in an ironic twist that I didn’t expect. The only complaint that I have is that now that I’ve been introduced to them, I want to get to know them better. I want more! That’s just the risk you take when you pick up a novella. *sigh*

I can’t say a lot more because I don’t want to give anything away. Basically all you really need to know is that The Christmas Top is a sweet little Holiday romance that gives you a taste of Snow’s writing and is the perfect in-between read when you’re looking for something short, sweet and smexy. It also made me want to check out the rest of Decadent Publishing’s 1 Night Stand offerings. 😉

DragonFlyRating4

How I Met Your Father by L.B. Gregg

HowIMetYourFatherThe man of your dreams could be sitting right next to you. 

Former boy band member Justin Hayes isn’t looking for a man. He just wants a quiet, scandal-free Christmas at home in Chicago, out of the public eye. But his best friend and bandmate is subjecting everyone to his destination wedding, and Justin can’t dodge the “best man” bullet. All he has to do is get to the island on time, survive the reunion, and get Chuck to the altar with as little drama as possible. What could possibly go wrong?

Jack Bassinger’s own plans for a quiet Christmas have been dashed by the summons to his daughter’s hasty wedding with a man Jack has hardly met. On the bumpy flight to the island, he finds himself comforting a nervous—and extremely attractive—young man. One hasty sexual encounter in an airport bathroom later, they both feel much better. No one ever has to know, after all.

Now Justin and Jack must find a way to explore their attraction, despite the distractions of disapproving family members, unexpected announcements, an impromptu concert, and an island paradise that proves there’s no place like home.

20% of all proceeds from this title are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York, whose mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.” To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit http://www.aliforneycenter.org/.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This was a fun one. The characters were fun, the situation was fun, the scenarios that the characters were placed in were fun… it was just plain fun!

I loved the inner dialogue that Justin was having with himself in the opening scene. I knew from the start that he was going to be someone I liked. I wasn’t sure about Jack at first, but the more I got to know him the better I liked him. He was sure of himself and knew what he wanted. That turned out to be one of my favorite character traits about him by the end of this story.

Justin wan’t exactly in the closet, but he kept his sexual preferences to himself. The more time he spent around Jack, the harder that became to ignore and hide his feelings. There was a lot happening in this story and everything going on around Jack and Justin just added to the humor and the inevitable slip ups. I loved how this story unfolded and the banter between the characters made it a quick and easy read. Perfect for a little Holiday escape.

The only real complaint I have about this one is that I wanted more. Less than 100 pages wasn’t nearly enough time spent with this lively crew. It also wasn’t enough time to find out how everything worked itself out. Everything moved from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ way too fast. That’s a minor issue though and one that I often have with novellas. Especially if they are centered around characters that I really like. It’s definitely worth picking up and not just for the entertainment value. 20% of the proceeds go to the Ali Forney Center in NY.

DragonFlyRating4

A Vampire’s Christmas Carol by Cynthia Eden

VampiresChristmasCarolThis holiday season has bite.
Ben Prescott hates Christmas—he’s a vampire, and to him, there’s certainly nothing jolly about the holiday season. While the humans are running around being merry, he’s hunting in the shadows. Ben plans to spend the holidays his way…by stalking deadly prey. 
But fate has other plans for Ben.
Three visitors are coming Ben’s way…A demon who will force Ben to face his past, a ghost who will show Ben the present he could have, and a shifter who will reveal the darkness that waits in Ben’s future. Unless Ben can change his ways, he may just turn into a real monster, one who can’t be saved by anyone or anything.
’Tis the season…to be undead.
Ben’s redemption rests in the hands of the one woman he loved and lost—Simone Laurent. If Ben is going to have a chance at being more than just the beast in the darkness, he has to prove himself to the lovely Simone. A very hard task, considering that, once upon a Christmas Eve, Simone died in Ben’s arms… 
Warning: This book features one very tortured vampire, a sexy ghost from his past, and hot scenes designed to melt the winter snow. Plenty of action, adult situations, and steamy times are ahead. Happy holidays!

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Who doesn’t love A Christmas Carol? I don’t think I’ve watched or read a version I didn’t like. A Vampire’s Christmas Carol is a taste of the tried and true story with a paranormal twist. What’s not to love?

I really did kind of like this one. It was short and sweet and perfect for a hot and steamy Holiday read. It was also dark and heartbreaking at the same time. Taking a familiar story and giving it a twist works sometimes. I like it when it works 😉

Nothing was quite what it seemed and neither were the characters. Vampires and Demons and Angels and Shifters… even a human or two. All of them played an important role in what reminded me of a twisted fairy tale. It definitely perked my interest and made me want to check out other books by Cynthia Eden.

DragonFlyGreen3-5

The Perfect Gift by Jo Robertson

ThePerfectGiftWhen her husband dies unexpectedly Jane Stark is left with four young boys and a mother-in-law who hates her. When she finds herself pregnant with the longed-for baby girl her husband wanted and ex-detective Rick — moves in next door, Jane doesn’t know whether to be happy or overwhelmed with the changes life has handed her.

Sometimes you just have to read something short and sweet and Jo Robertson’s The Perfect Gift falls perfectly into that category. No alpha males, nothing paranormal and not a tremendous amount of conflict. Just a sweet little romance that includes a family of adorable kids centered around Christmas time frame.

It would only be fair to warn you that there is a fair amount of heart break in The Perfect Gift. Jane has a lot of loss to recover from. Rick is the perfect person to help her through it. I’d recommend this one to anyone who wants a quick read that isn’t heavy on romance but isn’t lacking in love. It has some seriously sad moments but it ends with plenty of hope for the future. 😉

WhyBuyTheCow2013Plug

I received The Perfect Gift as a free download from Amazon on December 23, 2012.