Can you believe that it’ll be Christmas next weekend already? I can’t. It’s too fast, I’m not ready yet, lol. How can it be that time seems to go faster every year? Well, anyway, I’m looking forward to the holidays and I’m starting to get in the mood by buying and reading Christmas stories, like these two:
A Picture Perfect HolidayMLR Press, 2011
Photography club president Caleb loves football standout Christian Munez. He knows it's an old high school chestnut, but if being a cliche is wrong, he doesn't want to be right. They've been in school together since the fifth grade but having brothers on the same soccer team provides Caleb with a great opportunity to get to know Christian better. What he finds out - about Christian's home life and his future plans - could end his hopes forever. Or they might be the beginning of something wonderful. Caleb throws caution to the wind in A Picture Perfect Holiday.
However cute and entertaining, this story felt a bit underdeveloped and was too light for my taste. Maybe it’s the short length, or the lack of connection I felt with the characters (especially Christian), or perhaps it was the missing chemistry between the heroes (there’s no sex or much of an attraction or sexual tension), I just don’t think this will be a memorable story for me. Nevertheless, it’s well-written and has ZAM’s cleverly funny trademark. And if you want a sweet YA romance with a HFN ending, this is a good, enjoyable read for the holidays. 3 stars
Patchouli for Christmas
New York City event planner Michael Cove has a business to run and no time for a relationship. Especially when all around him he sees the pain caused by the inevitable failure of those relationships. He prefers to spend his time planning celebrations for others, seeking only the occasional fling when the need for company becomes too great.
But when a wealthy client demands that her grandson’s dark and gloomy paintings be used to decorate her Christmas party, he visits the brooding artist in his loft and discovers an unexpected attraction to the patchouli-scented modern day hippie.
Artist and do-gooder Jude Kendrick has his reasons for disliking Christmas, and prefers to withdraw alone to his loft for the holidays. Although he is in no mood for a visit from a party planner, he cannot deny the heat that flares between them the moment they meet.
They have nothing in common except the loneliness of the holidays. Can Michael lift the spirits of the moody Jude? And can Jude convince Michael to risk his heart?
Although this story didn't have a particularly Christmas-like feel to it, it was still really sweet and entertaining. The cuteness of the main characters together is balanced out well by their hot and steamy activities in bed (or on the yoga floor!). I really enjoyed their encounters, which were told in an easy, pleasant style. Their romance is a bit of an insta-love one, especially from Jude's side, but I didn't mind too much as this is only a short novella. However, in that regard, the plot could've done with a little less threads, because it felt rather stuffed with elements that couldn't develop properly due to lack of pages, like the side story of Michael's brother's marriage problems, or Jude's dark feelings expressed in his art, or Michael and Jude's opposite views on important things in life. Regarding their different views - Jude is a do-good-er who likes yoga and is all about animal rights while Michael likes luxury and meat and wears leather or silk clothes - this couple is a good example of opposites attract. And while this story convinced me of their attraction and chemistry I'm not so sure about the durability of their feelings when it goes beyond the physical part. Sadly, the narrative didn't give me many indications that these guys are a good match on more levels than that. Therefore I'd say the ending is something in between a HFN and a HEA, which leaves room for a sequel to Michael and Jude's engaging romance, that I wouldn't mind reading. 3.5 stars
I’ve got a few more X-mas reads on my shelves and I hope to find some time to read them and maybe write something about them next week.
Happy Gay Friday!~