Hi there! Today I’m sharing reviews for a few holiday-themed stories that will warm your hearts in this wintry season. FROSTBITTEN is a vampire menage, ANGEL VOICES is a New Adult M/M romance, and LOVE AND LATKES is a transgender romance. All of these are novellas, and have sweet themes of acceptance and new love.
About FROSTBITTEN by Charlotte Stein:
Shy nurse Cora both dreads and lives for the moments she sees Zeke, an orderly at the hospital where she works. Zeke is too handsome, too compelling, too much, and seems totally unaware of Cora. But before she can bring herself to his attention, an explosion rips through the hospital Christmas party.
Zeke has noticed Cora—in fact, he’s so irresistibly drawn to her that he saves her from the explosion by turning her into a vampire, much to the jealousy and resentment of his partner, Merrick. Zeke hates being a vampire, and now that she’ll live, doesn’t want Cora to suffer his fate. If they can both resist the overwhelming instinct to bond, joining their bodies as Cora draws her maker’s blood, she might be able to return to her normal human life.
As Merrick uses every erotic trick to keep Zeke distracted from the blood passion, Cora becomes more and more drawn to both of her reluctant captors. And more and more happy to abandon her old life in exchange for an eternity with two hot immortal lovers. All she has to do is convince Merrick and Zeke that being a vampire isn’t all that bad.
Like FRECKLES and GLASS TIDINGS, FROSTBITTEN is also a part of the 2016 three book Holiday bundle offered every year by Riptide, and 20% of the proceeds are donated to The Trevor Project, which provides a suicide hotline and counseling assistance for LGBTQ teens, in particular, in crisis.
I’ve actually written a full review for FROSTBITTEN for Joyfully Jay, but I can tell you I really loved this MMF menage story. Zeke and Merrick are a couple, but Zeke and Cora seem to share a strong attraction. Zeke saves Cora from certain death when an explosion rocks their holiday party–by infecting her with a vampire virus. Merrick wants Cora to return to her human self, which she will if she doesn’t take blood from either Zeke or Merrick. Unfortunately, they’re all very attracted to each other. This is a really compelling, sensual read. Cora narrates the whole novella, and she’s clearly a vivid thinker. Plus, once she’s infected, her viewpoint becomes distorted and hazy, with a sing-song quality that lulled me along. I dug it. There’s a little bit of sex, in the middle and the end with M/M, M/F and MMF arrangements.
About ANGEL VOICES by Rowan Speedwell:
One frigid winter night a week before Christmas, college student Will stumbles into a church during choir practice, bruised by his own father’s hands. He’s out of the closet now — there’s no going back since his fundamentalist father learned the truth — but he’s also out of a home, a family, and a future. Will has nowhere to turn. No one to care.
Except . . . Will’s roommate, Quinn, cares. Maybe too much. He’s been attracted to Will since they moved in together, but never dreamed his crush was gay. With Will’s life in pieces, Quinn doesn’t want to push. He also knows he has more experience than Will, who’s never even been kissed.
Then Will’s father makes a reappearance, and Will has to learn to trust his heart more than the voices of his past. But it’s the season of miracles, faith, and hope, and Quinn is determined to teach Will how to love and be loved.
Will is an 18 year old freshman attending his local college. When he returns to his home for the winter break his enraged father beats him nearly senseless and chucks him out into the cold, while his horrified mother watched. Will stumbles the eight miles back toward campus, dropping into a church to warm up. There he hears the choir practicing, and finds peace in his tumult.
He also finds his afro-Creole roommate, Quinn, who’s a tenor in the choir. Quinn had always thought his shy and reserved roomie was straight. Learning Will’s father assaulted him for being gay sets Quinn on a “rescue Will” mission. Quinn’s a sweet boy, whose family is large and supportive. He knows’ they’ll pitch in to help Will in whatever manner they can. With Will cut off from his family, they make plans to take him home to New Orleans for Christmas, and to seek out scholarship help if necessary.
Will, stunned that his roomie is gay, helpful, and attracted to him, allows Quinn to do his best–in all things. There’s a bit of steam, as Will experiences his first kiss–and more. He’s still shell-shocked over his father’s reaction, but it seems the rest of his family might just be okay with the gay. This is a Christmas romance novella, so everything happens kinda fast. I did love Quinn’s large and engaging family. They are all sweet, and wished I’d had more time to linger with them. I really enjoyed the interracial aspects here, and how inclusive it all felt.
While I’m a big fan of sexytimes, I kinda felt that happened a little fast, considering how injured Will was, and how little these guys really knew each other–despite being roomies. A little restraint would have gone a long way toward building some tension. That said, it’s a nice read, with some feel-good moments and what seems to be an HEA.
About LOVE & LATKES by BA Huntley
Allen’s day begins awful and rapidly turns into a living hell, leaving him without a job, without a car, without a phone, and without much hope that life will improve anytime soon. When friends urges him to bail on the city and come spend Hanukah with them, he agrees—and is glad he did when he meets Lucy.
This is a short novella, just 32 pages, that has a diverse cast, with two gay men, and two transgender characters, a man and a woman, which I really loved. Allen tells this story of how his life seemingly turned to crap in one day. It was too compressed and too ridiculous to be believed, unfortunately. Still, Allen’s friend David, a pregnant transman, invites Allen to spend Hanukkah with David and his husband in Halifax.
While visiting, Allen meets Lucy, a transwoman, who Allen finds very attractive. They bond a bit over the few days they spend together. It’s a fresh start for Allen, it seems, which is nice, but a bit convenient. I didn’t like the beginning, because it seemed so implausible, but the parts once Allen got on the plane were decent. The Hanukkah bits were a side story, with the focus on Allen getting a new life and new love. I wished this was expanded, to allow for better character and conflict development. I liked the diversity, which was mostly unexpected considering the blurb. This is an okay read, good for a lunchtime diversion.
Thanks for popping in!
Be sure to comment on any holiday reads you’ve picked up this season, and how you liked them!
As always, keep reading my friends.