Today we are reviewing three holiday stories from Silver Publishing, including Someone Like You by L.M. Brown, A Most Unexpected Gift by Ashlyn Monroe, and A Moon-Runner Christmas by N.J. Nielsen

Someone Like You by L.M. Brown
Rating: 4 stars
Length: Novella
Reviewer: Melanie

Todd Hunter and his boyfriend, Deacon Jones, had been inseparable right up until Todd went away to the university, then all communications from Deacon stopped. Now Todd is home on break and is determined to find out why Deacon hasn’t called or replied to any of his emails. For Todd, Deacon is the “one and only” and he thought he was that for Deacon too.

While Todd has been away, Deacon has undergone several major upheavels in his life, and he has held them all back from Todd. Todd is “the one” for Deacon. Now Todd must figure out what has gone wrong with Deacon if the young men are to find their HEA.

Someone Like You is L.M. Brown’s twist on boy from the wrong side of the tracks storyline, and I think the author did a lovely job with it. Brown’s two main characters, Todd Hunter and Deacon Jones, are vulnerable, likable, and very easy to relate to. Brown’s story is as much about family expectations and obligations as it is about a first love that also is the one that lasts.

Too often when a story has young men finding their “soulmate” early, the notion seems a little too much like a teen crush than a love to build a relationship on, but Brown does a credible job of making us believe that just perhaps the love Deacon and Todd feel for each other will be a love to last their lifetime. And Brown does it all in just 89 pages.

So if you are looking for a sweet holiday story, one that is quick to read and yet leave you smiling into the evening hours, this is one for you.

A Most Unexpected Gift by Ashlyn Monroe
Rating: 2.5 stars
Length: Short Story
Reviewer: Melanie

Aarika Marshal has a mischievous mind, and when she decides to give her boyfriend, Rafe, a most unusual gift on Christmas Eve, Aarika decides to give herself a sexy gift too, all in the same package. The gift in question is her bi-sexual best friend Clara who has long held a crush on Rafe. When Rafe’s twin brother, Rhett joins in, the shenanigans kicks into high gear and it will be a very smutty Christmas for all.

Clara laughed as Aarika pushed her into the closet. “Shh, he’ll be home any minute,” Aarika warned her best friend. “Push your boobs up so he gets a good look.”

That opening line pretty much indicates how the story, and what little plot there is, will go. Aarika decides to have her best friend have sex with her boyfriend, Rafe, and herself too. She prepares her “surprise” but is surprised in turn when Rafe turns up with Rhett in tow. This is our introduction to Rhett, who looks over his brother’s girlfriend’s body:

“You told me she had a smokin’ body, bro, but I think you left out just how nice her tits are.”

Classy, so very classy, and a perfect indication of what little character Rhett has. In fact, all the people involved come across as mostly one-dimentional characters. And the plot is as simplistic as the men and women involved.

And from that scene the story goes downhill from there. For Christmas, we are given wooden characters, silly dialog, and a plot that would grace a 80s porn flick. If this was your Christmas wish, then Ashlyn Monroe has delivered just the short story for you. But for me, I have higher expectations for my holiday fare and at 34 pages, this one was 34 pages too long.

Note: This title contains multiple sexual situations, including MF, FF, MFM, and MFF but not M/M

A Moon-Runner Christmas by N.J. Nielsen
Rating: 2.75 stars
Length: Novella
Reviewed by Crissy

Every year shifters from all around participate in the annual mating contract ritual where they have the chance to find a mate to spend the rest of their lives with. Carlo Bruenelli has looked forward to joining in on the ritual for as long as he can remember, awaiting the day that he will meet his heart-mate. He has always hoped it would be his best friend, Liam, even though Liam doesn’t believe in fated heart-mates.

Liam Kantry has been in love with Carlo for years. He has been looking forward to the day that Carlo comes of age and is able to participate in the mating contract ritual, if only to have a chance with him. But rumors that paint Liam as the pack slut and a family feud put him in jeopardy of losing Carlo before he even has a chance. Determined to show his love and devotion to Carlo, Liam sets out to prove that he is worth the risk.

A Moon-Runner Christmas is a tale of unrequited love and overcoming obstacles. The story focus on Carlo and Liam finally finding each other and ignoring what others think of them individually or as a couple. It is a sweet, if a little predictable, storyline that I may have enjoyed better with better developed characters.

I didn’t love this story the way I thought I would. It lacked a connection between the individual characters, as well as a connection to the reader. The dialogue was flat. And the constant monologues of both Liam and Carlo made it seem as if they were having lengthy conversations with themselves. When I wasn’t frustrated by the long monologues, I was confused by the alternating first and third person POVs. I was really looking forward to this story, as it seemed to combine two of my favorite subjects.  In the end, it was simply an okay tale, but not one that I am likely to read again.