That Turtle Story by C.S. Poe
C.S. Poe has a way with creating endearing, quirky characters and she delivers another charming set of MCs and story in That Turtle Story. Even though Nor knows he’s better off without his childish boyfriend, dealing with the post-breakup blues during the Christmas season has left him acting a bit grinchy. However, when Eugene walks into Nor’s turtle rehabilitation center to seek help regarding a clutch of eggs he’s found, Eugene’s combination of hotness, sweetness, and confidence has Nor taking his friends’ advice to try something new, or in Nor’s case, to “eat some goddamn cheese.”
While Nor is not normally into casual flings, there’s just something about Eugene that tempts him to try it. To Nor’s dawning horror, however, he realizes that Eugene can’t be a causal fling because he’s The Guy (cue snotty, hilarious panic and a few Christmas wishes). Nor is that loveable kind of awkward that spouts facts when nervous, but he’s also slightly snarky and adorably passionate about his turtles. Eugene’s easygoing confidence and good heart makes him a nice foil for Nor and encourages him to break out of his routine and embrace the more impulsive side of his nature. That Turtle Story is a good blend of cute, funny and delightful and is a great holiday read.
Once in a Lifetime is a Christmas miracle story about how the events in your life, even the heartbreaking ones, are necessary to lead you to the place where you belong. Being born on the day the comet 38P was last seen, Peter is determined to make the trip to New Zealand to see the comet when it comes back again in honor of his father’s memory. Although the universe seems intent on keeping him from his goal or enjoying his holiday, being rescued by Ragni and swept into the warm embrace of his rescuer’s family fills the void of familial love that has been missing from Peter’s life since his father died when he was 12 years old.
Once in a Lifetime is one of those short stories that’s hard for me to review because while it manages to tell the story it sets out to and is well-written, at 37 pages it’s so short, it really depends on what the reader is looking for as to whether or not it will be enjoyable. On the one hand, I can see people finding it a bit boring as it’s a quiet, fates-colliding, family-centric short where the blurb tells all of the story except for the character beats. On the other, the tone of the story is very warm and inviting, and although Peter and Ragni don’t actually spend much time alone or getting to know each other, if you enjoy the concept of fated love Once in a Lifetime is a sweet, quick read.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.